Improving Standards for Legionella Risk Assessment?

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
18th February 2019

Earlier this month BSI released its updated “British Standard BS 8580-1:2019 Water quality, risk assessments for Legionella control – Code of practice”.

SI commented on the “significant revision to the 2010 British Standard providing further guidelines for assessing water quality and the risk of Legionnaires disease.” With the 4th edition of L8, updated technical guidance through (HSG274 1-3 and HSG282) and revision to TM13 all produced in the interim, it is a timely development. Not least because there also appears to be a significant increase in the annual number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in England and Wales - provisional Public Health England (PHE) figures show, subject to confirmation over 530 cases reported in 2018, compared to approx. 450 in 2017 and approx. 360 in 2016.

Couple this figure with the 54% of Legionella risk assessments where the main failings leading to an improvement notice served was for the document being “not up to date/in need of review /insufficient” (HSE intervention programme) and a  case can be made that not all risk assessments are the same.

Equally there is a difference between “working to the standard” and actually being accredited through UKAS (to 17020) for Legionella Risk Assessments in accordance with the standard. The former, at best, is an intention. The latter takes a lot of time and effort to achieve and maintain the standard (through assessments, audits, inspections and re-inspections, training and development) perhaps that is why so few companies in the UK have actually acted on their intentions. 

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