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Are You Responsible For The Prevention Of Legionnaires' Disease?

CKD Galbraith provides guidance for landlords on the back on of new legal duties for the control of legionella bacteria in home water systems.

Under recent legislation, duty holders, which include; employers, those in control of premises and those with health and safety responsibilities for others, must take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to legionella. CKD Galbraith strongly advises all landlords to check that their managing agent is aware of recent legislative changes and is taking the appropriate action to ensure compliance with the current legislation.

Legionella bacteria thrive in stagnant water where the temperatures are between 20-40C. Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing the bacteria. Such droplets can be created in hot and cold water systems, atomisers and whirlpool or hydrotherapy baths.

We have compiled the essential measures for those responsible for assessing and controlling the risks. The primary method used to control the risk from Legionella is water temperature control:

  • Hot water storage cylinders should store water at 60C or higher
  • Hot water should be distributed at 50C or higher
  • Cold what should be stored and distributed below 20C
  • Showerheads and taps should be cleaned regularly to remove limescale and algae
  • Stagnant water favours Legionella growth. Dead end pipe work should be removed and infrequently used outlets should be flushed out at least weekly to reduce the risk.

Shirley Kenyon, Lettings Manager at CKD Galbraith, said: "Private Landlords or agencies who are responsible for building maintenance must take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure of their tenants to legionella. If you are a homeowner, you are responsible for the water systems in your house.

"During recent risk assessments we found that in the majority of households the hot water temperature at the outlets was below the recommended 50C, simply increasing the water temperature to achieve at least the recommended 50C will significantly reduce the risk of Legionella. In practise the risk is fairly low if you keep hot water at a high enough temperature, the bacteria are dormant below 20C and do not survive above 60C, and regularly use your water systems to prevent stagnation. Landlords should choose their agents wisely to ensure that they are keeping abreast of new legislation and acting accordingly on your behalf".

CKD Galbraith managed the let of almost 1000 properties last year, and so has a wealth of experience in assisting both landlords and prospective tenants in their legal duties and their responsibility for others. For more information on controlling the risk of Legionnaires' Disease and who is responsible please contact CKD Galbraith's lettings department in Stirling on 01786 434614 or click here to find out more about or Residential Lettings and Management service.