What is Legionella?

What is Legionella?

Legionellosis is the group term for all infections principally caused by the inhalation of aerosol containing an infective dosage of legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac Fever are the most commonly reported legionellosis.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but which principally affects those who are susceptible because of factors such as age, illness, immunosuppression and smoking.

Legislation

Health and Safety Requirements

In the UK, guidance on undertaking a Water Hygiene Risk Assessment is provided by the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP L8 4th Edition) “Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems”.

In effect this guidance identifies a Health and Safety Executive approved approach to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sections 2, 3, 4, and 6 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12. ACOP L8 4th Edition also gives guidance on compliance with relevant parts of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR).

Failure to comply with the requirements of ACOP L8 (4th Edition) is not an offence in itself. However, deviations from its guidance have been used to prove a person has contravened a legal requirement. In this situation a person will have to demonstrate they have fulfilled the legal requirement in some other way.

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