What is Legionella?
Legionella is a bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, and is spread through water droplets (aerosol). Symptoms are similar to ‘flu, including head and muscle aches, high temperature, chills, tiredness and confusion. It can cause long term effects or even death.
Some people are more at risk from Legionnaires’ disease, especially the over 45s, people who smoke or drink heavily, those living with chronic respiratory, kidney, lung or heart disease, diabetes or with an impaired immune system.
It cannot be passed from person to person and 90% of people who contract it make a full recovery. Some, however, can suffer long term effects such as fatigue, neurologic and neuromuscular symptoms.
Section 3 (2) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) relates to landlords.
“It shall be the duty of every self employed person [landlord] to conduct his undertaking in such a way to ensure, so far as is practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) [tenants] who may be affected they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.” HSE
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provides a framework of actions to control the risk of hazardous substances, including biological agents (eg. Legionella) to identify and assess the risk and implement any necessary measures to control any risk.
Every landlord has an obligation to be aware of the potential dangers and ensure a risk assessment is carried out.
It is a landlord’s legal duty to ensure all water systems are correctly operated and maintained so as to control Legionella bacteria.
A landlord must be able to show compliance.
If a tenant were to contract Legionnaires’ disease from the water system in their home, the landlord may be liable for prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act and have to demonstrate to a court that he had performed his legal duty.
What You Can Do Next
Contact me to book your Legionella Risk Assessment. I assess residential properties throughout the whole of Pembrokeshire. Your report will be emailed directly to you upon completion.