Bureau Veritas calls on firms to review legionella risk

Bureau Veritas calls on firms to review legionella risk

With regular outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease continuing to dominate the headlines, Bureau Veritas is calling on businesses to review their legionella risk strategy following the recent update to the BS 8580-1 Water Quality standard.

Published in January 2019, the revised BS 8580-1:2019 provides the latest guidance on conducting legionella risk assessments – a legal requirement for firms under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Key changes include; the ‘responsible person’ is now referred to as the ‘competent person’; risk assessments must clearly identify the person it is communicated and reported to as well as stating the person any subsequent recommendations are addressed to, if different. It also takes into consideration HSG282; guidance published by the Health and Safety Executive in 2017 to address the growing threat of Legionella in spa pools.

The update comes as the latest figures from Public Health England show 123 cases involving potentially life-threatening Legionnaires’ disease have already been reported since the start of 2019 – a significant year-on-year increase of 43%. Last year, a hospital in Bath was fined £300,000 after a patient died from the disease as a result of failures in updating its water distribution system to reduce the risk of Legionella.

Paul Weston, Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Legionnaires’ disease remains a serious risk to the public and as such the correct management and control of Legionella has never been more critical.

“Whether you’re duty holder, responsible or competent person, facilities manager or a risk assessor, as an industry we still have a huge job to do in promoting a best practice approach when it comes to the prevention of diseases associated with Legionella. This revised standard is a great starting point and I would urge anyone with responsibility for the health and safety of others in public premises to review their existing legionella risk strategy to ensure it meets the updated criteria. After all, prevention is better than a cure.”

According to Bureau Veritas, in line with previous amendments of the BS 8580-1 standard, BS 8580-1:2019 continues to put greater emphasis on the need to employ an independent risk assessor to carry out risk assessments, to minimise any bias or conflict of interest.

Paul adds: “Where risk assessments are carried out by companies that also offer water hygiene and treatment services, there may be the risk of conflicting responsibilities. Best practice now dictates using an independent risk assessor, as this will guarantee that all recommendations will be unbiased and meet the highest standards of Legionella control.”

Bureau Veritas offers a range of indoor water quality services including water inspections, legionella management training and risk assessments. 

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