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August 8, 2022

The Essential Guide to ACOP L8 and How It Applies to You

ACOP L8 is the shorthand for the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice regarding the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems.

It is vital that your business or residence complies with legislation surrounding Legionella bacteria, to stop its spread in your water systems and to prevent occupants and visitors from contracting Legionnaire’s disease. 

This guide will explain ACOP L8 water regulations are how they apply to you, including information on crucial Legionella Risk Assessments.

What Is Legionella Bacteria?

close up of 3d illustration microscopic blue of Legionella pneumophila bacteria

Legionella bacteria are found in natural water sources and artificial water sources. Any recirculated system or hot and cold water system is at risk of Legionella bacteria growth, with the optimal temperature for bacteria growth resting between 25-45 degrees celsius. 

At lower temperatures, the bacteria can survive but cannot multiply. At higher temperatures, over 60 degrees celsius, the bacteria die. But in this 25-45 degree window, Legionella colonies can thrive and spread dramatically, posing a great danger.

Some of the most common water systems that are at risk include:

  • Spa pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Dental apparatus
  • Showers
  • Healthcare Properties
  • Vehicle cleaning machines
  • Food manufacturing sites
  • Washing facilities
  • Industrial facilities like manufacturing sites

If these water sources have any kind of bacteria, sediment, or scale on them, they are at higher risk of Legionella bacteria growth. When these infected water droplets are then released by aerosol, occupants and visitors of a building are at risk of developing Legionnaire’s disease by breathing them in.

What Is Legionnaire’s Disease?

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe lung infection similar to pneumonia. When someone breathes in droplets of water that contain Legionella bacteria, the disease can develop in the lungs leading to flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing. 

For vulnerable people, Legionnaire’s disease can be fatal. This is why it is vital to get an ACOP L8 Legionella Risk Assessment to guard against the spread of this harmful bacteria in your water systems.

What Are My Responsibilities Regarding Legionella?

Landlord Tenant Law Book

If you own a building or are the person in control of premises, you are responsible for health and safety. You are legally required to ensure you reduce the risks of exposure to Legionella and must know how to take the right actions to do so.

You need to know how to:

  • Identify and assess sources of risk
  • Manage any risks
  • Prevent or control those risks
  • Keep the correct records
  • Carry out any other health and safety duties you may have

What Is ACOP L8 and Who Is It For?

ACOP L8 is the approved code of practice for controlling Legionella bacteria in water systems. The legislation gives practical advice on the control of Legionella and how to comply with the law as set out in:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

ACOP L8 refers to the 4th edition, published in 2013.

ACOP L8 guidelines are for business owners and landlords and any premises controlled by trade, business, or other undertakings. It covers any site where water is stored and wherever there is the possibility of the creation or transmission of water droplets that risk the exposure of Legionella bacteria.

The guidance is specifically aimed at:

  • Duty holders
  • Employers
  • Those in control of premises
  • Those with health and safety responsibility for others
  • Business owners
  • Landlords

If you fall under any of the above, you could face prosecution for breaching health and safety law regarding Legionella. Technical guidance for ACOP L8 compliance can be found in the free downloadable PDF from the Health and Safety Executive Website.

What Are the Legal Requirements For Duty Holders?

If you are the duty holder, you are legally required to carry out the following:

  1. Identification and assessment of the sources of risk
  2. Preparation of a Legionella control scheme that either prevents or controls identified risks
  3. The implementation, management and monitoring of precautions
  4. Accurate record-keeping of precautions
  5. Appointment of a fully competent individual as the “responsible person”

We can help your business or property with all of the above with our comprehensive list of Legionella services. We are the trusted experts when it comes to Legionella, and have helped countless clients achieve full Legionella compliance. Find out more below. 

Why a Legionella Risk Assessment Is Essential For ACOP L8 Compliance

The first step to ACOP L8 compliance is to get an ACOP L8 Legionella Risk Assessment. This will involve a technical review of both your previous assessments and your current records, made up of administrative and physical assessments.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974, a Legionella risk assessment is a legal requirement. It needs to be carried out regularly by a competent person. The safest way to ensure this is done properly is to get a professional to carry out your Legionella risk assessment.

This is where the Legionella experts at Guardian Hygiene Services can help. We are fully accredited by the Legionella Control Association and also hold accreditations and memberships with CHAS, Constructionline and Safecontractor. We can get the job done efficiently and with full legal compliance for your greater peace of mind.

The business sectors we cover include:

  • Hospitals
  • Care Homes
  • Funeral Homes
  • Landlords
  • Retail
  • Restaurants
  • Hairdressers
  • Dental Practices
  • Health Clubs
  • Sports Centres
  • Local Authority
  • National Trust
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Leisure Clubs
  • Factories, including food production
  • All commercial properties

Book a Professional ACOP L8 Legionella Risk Assessment Today

It is crucial for the health and safety of your business or residence that a Legionella risk assessment is carried out properly. If not, you could risk a hefty fine and the exposure of occupants to harmful bacteria that can cause death.

A professional assessment from Guardian Hygiene Services ensures full compliance and peace of mind. All of our Legionella services are bespoke and tailored to your needs, with a simple reporting system that makes the process easy to understand.

Speak to our specialist advisors today to book your Legionella risk assessment to ensure ACOP L8 compliance.