Student Accommodation and Legionella Risks

A University education has become more popular than ever in recent years and there are a growing number of students who demand high quality accommodation when living away.

Living in a large modern building, particularly in a city centre close to shops and amenities is usually very appealing for students; in fact, purpose-built student accommodation blocks are popping up across the country. These kinds of properties are a profitable proposition for developers due to the steady stream of potential new tenants they present. However, building owners will need to consider Legionella risks that come with it.

A highly important aspect of safety in student accommodation is water hygiene, in particular the risk from legionella bacteria developing into the deadly legionnaire’s disease.

It is a legal duty for Landlords – under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Approved Code of Practice (L8) – to assess the risk of Legionella exposure in their properties and to control this risk. In order to do so, a Legionella Risk Assessment should be carried out by a competent person and if any risks are identified, appropriate measures will need to be implemented in order to control it.

Student accommodation is likely to be left unoccupied for long periods, outside of term time. Therefore, the risk from legionella bacteria developing can be high, if water is left to stagnate.

To manage the risk, the responsible person should put in place a flushing regime, which means turning on taps for about 5 minutes before use, where they have been left unused for a long period of time. Shower heads should also be regularly descaled since scale is an ideal food source for Legionella bacteria and Water Monitoring should be carried out; preferably every 6 months.

As the person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. According to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) must understand how to:

Identify and assess sources of risk

Manage any risks

Prevent or control any risks

Keep and maintain the correct records

Carry out any other duties you may have

Should you wish to book a Legionella Risk Assessment for your student property please call us on 0800 121 8808 or email us at info@ges-water.co.uk

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