Legionella high risk alert! The organisation where we found this employed a company who conducted Legionella risk assessments twice a year for a number of years! Yep, we even saw the paperwork… including the invoice..
One of the water tanks (there were two) lids did not fit properly causing debris to enter the tank. The tank also contained stagnant water. The result was bacterial growth in the water in the tank (there were two). The hot water didn’t reach over 45 degrees centigrade at any outlet. This wasn’t because Thermostatic mixer valves were fitted to regulate water temperature. there were none of these. To make matters worse this is a centre for vulnerable people.
Why did this happen
This happened because the previous company turned up, did what they did, produced a very complicated report written in technical language. While the water in the second water tank not being used and the temperature of the hot water were mentioned in the report, the consequences of these scenarios were not. There was nothing to alert someone with little knowledge of Legionella, who had fulfilled their health and safety duties by employing a “competent person” from a large specialist organisation of these problems.
The reason we got the job was a chance conversation about Legionella where they said they had this done twice a year but didn’t understand the reports. The assumption was that because they hadn’t been told there was a problem, that there wasn’t a problem.
Legionella reports don’t need to be full of technical language and difficult to understand. Best practice is to alert you to any problem immediately, perhaps verbally with a back up email. Of course this doesn’t mean you don’t have to read the report. The report is there to give you a full understanding of Legionella risk on your premises. You should be able to understand it. If you don’t, go back to the company and ask them what it means.
We immediately told the client what the problem was and what to do about it. We even helped find a qualified, competent plumber who took immediate action to reduce risk. The organisation has a Legionella risk assessment report they fully understand.
Legionella risk assessment reports are not just a formality. They are there to ensure people are safe and stay safe. Do you understand yours?
More information about Legionella and employers’ responsibilities is on the Health and Safety Executive website.
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