Legionella, or Legionnaires' disease, is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella.
All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Bacteria may multiply and increase the risk of exposure where conditions are favourable, including:
- suitable growth temperature range
- water droplets, or aerosols, produced and dispersed
- water stored and/or recirculated
- some food for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm
It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems, so both require risks being managed effectively.
The Health and Safety Executive has published further guidance on Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities, including answers to common questions and advice on how to carry out Legionella risk assessments. You can read this guidance on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Legionella test certificates
There are concerns that some consultants and lettings agents have been wrongly advising landlords that a legionella test certificate is required.
The Health and Safety Executive has clarified the position. It states that health and safety law does not require landlords to obtain or produce, nor does the executive recognise, a Legionella test certificate.