This template is designed to help a responsible person carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment for all short-term let premises.
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. While these bacteria are common in natural water systems, they usually occur in numbers too small to cause health problems. However, in the right conditions these bacteria can multiply quickly and cause a significant health risk.
These conditions are where water is maintained between 20–45C, is stored or recirculated, where there is a source of nutrients in the water (including rust or scale) and where there are aerial water droplets. This means that water tanks, spas or hot tubs, air conditioning units and showers are the most common places for the bacteria to breed.
If you have self-catering property or a B&B with a normal residential water system, this risk assessment will be straight forward as the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease should not be high. A full specialist assessment is generally only needed if you have a large commercial property or you are uncertain of the property’s water system.
If you have machinery that contains water, such as air conditioning units or a spa/hot tub, then special attention needs to be made to ensure that this is regularly serviced and cleaned.
If you operate a property where the water system is not in regular use (e.g. a self-catering property that has long void periods or closes over winter) then additional precautions need to be undertaken to make sure that the water in the system does not stagnate. If your property is going to be vacant for a significant period, you should either drain or flush the system before the guests arrive.
Who can carry out an assessment?
You can carry out a Legionnaire’s risk assessment yourself if the property is a single dwelling with its own water supply (hot and cold) and you are competent to do so. You should:
If you do not consider that you are competent then you should seek advice.
The risk assessment process
The practical risk assessment should include a site survey of the water system. A template is attached which is suitable for a basic system and can be adapted as required.
The assessor should understand the water systems and any associated equipment in the property, in order to conclude whether the system is likely to create a risk from exposure to Legionella.
It is important to identify whether:
Reviewing the risk assessment
If the risk assessment concludes there is no reasonably foreseeable risk or the risks are insignificant and are managed properly to comply with the law, the assessment is complete. Although no further action may be required at this stage, existing controls must be maintained. The assessment of risk is an ongoing process and not merely a paper exercise. The assessment should be reviewed regularly and specifically when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid.
Author of guidance: ASSC
Date of guidance: January 2024
Version Number: V1
Disclaimer – Guidance Sheets are written by experienced Members of the ASSC and other experts. The information in the ‘Guidance Sheet’ is provided by the ASSC for use by Members in support of their own independent business decisions. It does not constitute advice or instruction for which the ASSC can be held liable in any way whatsoever. All Members and other readers remain responsible for the consequences of any decisions taken whether in the light of information gained from this Guidance Sheet or not.