Risk Assessment > Overview

What is Legionella?

Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires’ disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. The risk increases with age but some people are at higher risk including:

  • people over 45 years of age
  • smokers and heavy drinkers
  • people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
  • diabetes, lung and heart disease
  • anyone with an impaired immune system

The bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria are common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, but usually in low numbers. They may also be found in purpose-built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools.

If conditions are favourable, the bacteria may grow increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease and it is therefore important to control the risks by introducing appropriate measures outlined in Legionnaires’ disease – The Control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8).

Where does Legionella come from?

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, e.g. rivers and ponds. However, the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease from these sources.

Outbreaks of the illness occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose-built systems where water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage growth, e.g. cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools used in all sorts of premises (work and domestic).

Will a Legionella Risk Assessment help me?

A Risk Assessment needs to consider the whole water system, not just isolated assets. The aim is to identify where there are risks within the system with the objective that a Control Scheme can be drawn up from the conclusions of the assessment.

Implementation of an efficient control scheme and the management of that scheme is just as obligatory as the initial assessment. The larger the site the more complex control schemes become to implement, record and manage.

LCS offer competitively priced Risk Assessments and Risk Assessment Reviews that are amongst the best in the industry. We also offer complete Water Management Contracts for clients whom wish to outsource their Control Scheme to a safe pair of hands.

If you are unsure of the validity of your latest Risk Assessment, please click the button below. Answering 12 simple questions allows us to provide an instant evaluation.

Do I need a Legionella Risk Assessment?

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