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Better L8 than never...Revision to Legionella Control in Water Systems

After more than 13 years, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has finally updated its guidance for legionella management and control, with the revision of ‘Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water system Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8’ Standards and publication of the new Technical Guidance HSG 274’.

ACOP L8 is now much clearer and more concise than its predecessor.The ACoP and technical guidance have been split into separate documents. The Technical Guidance HSG 274, has been divided into three easier-to-read subsections:

  • Part 1, The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems

  • Part 2, The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems Standards

  • Part 3, The control of legionella bacteria in other risk systems

Throughout the ACOP L8 guidance, there’s more emphasis on the duty holder, making it much easier for them to understand their role and responsibilities when it comes to controlling legionella risk.

Risk assessment

In another departure from old guidelines, ACOP status has been awarded to the ‘Review of control measures: Monitoring and routine inspection’ and ‘Carrying out a risk assessment’. The HSE also offers more helpful information about risk in artificial water systems (BS8580:2010). Duty holders and responsible persons are no longer guided to carry out risk assessments every two years, but they do still need to regularly review and audit risk assessments and control.

Competency and control

In previous versions of the guidance, a single individual was in charge of ‘competency’, but under the L8 document it is recommended that responsibility is shared, which should make it easier for organisations to manage risk in large and complex systems. The HSE has also made the decision that  people with the necessary competence outside of the industry can  be appointed from outside the organisation, as long as they have sufficient authority, training and knowledge of the installation; the duty holder keeps overall responsibility.

Designer responsibilities

Another key change under the updated guidance is the stricter requirement for architects and designers to factor legionella risk management into building design. By considering it from the very beginning, it should be much easier for duty holders to keep risks under control.

 HSG274 Part 2 Standards

When the bulk of the new guidance was published, HSG274 Part 2 was an interim document, but the final guidance document is now available, with more detailed guidance for responsible persons.

Standards THE WORKPLACE (Health, Safety and Welfare) REGULATIONS 1992 (L24) Regulation 6 for Ventilation is that: Effective and suitable provision shall be made to ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air' remains intact.

The associated Approved Code of Practice gives 'practical advice on how to comply with the law'. For ventilation, it states in ACOP 6 (52); Regulation 6, that mechanical ventilation systems (including air-conditioning systems) should be regularly and adequately cleaned. They should also be properly tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air.

ACOP 41 for Regulation 5 has been revised and reads:

An 'efficient state' means that the workplace and the equipment, devices and systems mentioned in these Regulations should be free of faults likely to affect the health, safety or welfare of workers and provide an adequate level of hygiene. If a potentially dangerous defect is discovered, the defect should be rectified.

Guidance 6 (58) reminds that some ventilation systems are water based and that suitable legionella precautions need to be taken in line with L8 Legionnaires disease Approved Code of Practice and Guidance The control of legionella bacteria in water systems.



Since 2005 the RRFSO introduced the role of “ Responsible Person” (RP) for every business that employs five or more people The RPs duties will include (but not be limited to) ensuring a fire risk assessment is carried out by a nominated competent person including kitchen extract ventilation systems and associated equipment.

According to Local Fire Authorities and Insurers, “One of the most common causes of fire spread within commercial premises is the failure to remove combustible grease deposits from the cooking extract ductwork by regular and thorough cleaning”

 Government Statistics’ states that “In 2010/11 there were over 2,000 fires in Restaurants, Cafes & Public Houses ect.”

 London Fire Brigade Sources report that “There is a kitchen extract ductwork fire on average every 9 days in Greater London alone.”

Insurance companies will not pay out on claims where it is found that the fire was spread or caused through un-cleaned ductwork. They will also pursue the Cleaning Contractor if at fault.



Regulation 7 Of the COSHH Regulations 1999 requires that the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health be either prevented or, where that is not reasonably practical, adequately controlled.

Regulation 8 States there is a duty on the employee to use LEV provided and to report any defects observed.

Regulation 9 Of the COSHH regulations requires that any control measure taken to comply with Regulation 7 must be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair and also specifies that records shall be kept of the results of the tests including details of any repairs carried out as a result of the Examinations and tests.

These records have to be kept for a minimum of 5 years. Frequency of Inspection - 14 months.










Compliance delighted to have aquired membership.

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