Legionella Risk Assessment

Legionella Control and Management

It is important that Sports and leisure facilities take the risk of legionella and water hygiene seriously. Sports and leisure facilities are often used on a seasonal basis, or will go through periods of low use and therefore will have periods of low water usage which can significantly increase the risk associated with legionella growth and bacterial proliferation in the water system.

Further to this, some venues will have water containing equipment that also encourage bacterial growth including legionella. Communal showers and spa baths for example all increase the risk of exposure.

Whether your site is a small golf course, a 60,000 seater stadium or a public park there are many water containing systems that will need to be assessed and will require a routine management system to ensure the risks are suitably managed and maintained.

Sports and leisure facilities will always offer particular challenges in Legionella risk management and BRIO Group are leisure industry specialists.

Hotels are particularly susceptible to colonization by legionellae because of their large size, their complexity and also their seasonal use patterns (which mean they may have long periods of stagnation and low use).

Preventive and control measures follow the same procedures identified for other buildings; for example, they involve removing dead and blind ends, maintaining elevated temperatures in the hot-water system, and periodic disinfection and permanent chlorination of the cold-water system.

Whether you are responsible for a small leisure centre, gymnasium or national stadium. BRIO Group is able to provide legionella risk assessment and management services that will keep your water supply safe, both in and out of season.


Legionella Facts

  • Legionellosis is an infection caused by bacteria of the genus Legionella. The most serious is Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia with a relatively high fatality rate, which was first recognized in 1976.
  • Outbreaks and sporadic infections occur throughout the world. At least 50 species of Legionella have been described and twenty have been associated with disease in humans, but the predominant cause of Legionnaires’ disease is L. pneumophila. Legionella spp.
  • Their predilection for warm water means that they are capable of colonizing artificial water systems and equipment containing water.
  • Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted from person to person, but is of environmental origin and usually contracted by inhaling the organism in an aerosol produced from water contaminated with the organism.
  • Aspiration of water containing Legionella spp. can also cause infection, particularly in hospitalized individuals.
  • Suitable and sufficient assessment of risks allows appropriate control measures to be put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public who could be affected by work activities. Legionella risk assessment is no different, and is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, make specific requirements for risk assessment.
  • These regulations apply to the control of Legionella and are embodied in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance document, “Legionnaires’ disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems”, otherwise known as ACoP L8.
  • A risk assessment is a live document, not a one-off exercise, and needs to be reviewed regularly, ideally in anticipation of, rather than in response to, changes. For example, the risk assessment for a new construction ought to be performed before commissioning, but then reviewed when the system has been operating normally for several weeks or months.

The introduction of HSG274 part 4 from April 2016, will place an emphasis for Spa Pool and leisure operators to ensure their legionella risk assessments are undertaken as per legislative requirements.