Changes HSC ACoP & Guidance L8.2013

Posted on Jul 08, 2014

The Health & Safety Executive have recently updated and revised the ACoP L8 ‘the control of legionella bacteria in water systems’.

The updated publication came into effect in November 2013 and immediately supersedes previous versions of the guidance.

The ACoP L8 is now a comprehensive guide on how to comply with the:-

  •  The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA)
  •  The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH)
  •  The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR)

Technical guidance on how to comply with the ACoP has been issued in three separate documents.

  • HSG274 Part 1, The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems
  • HSG274 Part 2, The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems.
  • HSG274 Part 3, The control of legionella bacteria in other risk systems.

The main changes to the HSE’s ACoP L8 are as follows:

The new ACoP makes clear reference to COSHH, Health & Safety at Work Act and Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations and gives guidance on how to comply.

The new ACOP now states that the Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring a risk assessment is carried out.

The Duty Holder is:-
A) the employer, where the risk from their undertakings is to their employees or others; or
B) a self-employed person, where there is a risk from their undertaking to themselves or  others; or
C) the person who is in control of premises or systems in connection with work, where there is a risk from systems in the building.

The Duty Holder may appoint a competent person, known as the Responsible Person to take day to day responsibility for controlling risk of Legionellosis from the water systems.

The Responsible Person must have sufficient authority, competence and knowledge of the installation and they (along with those carrying out the control measures) should be suitably informed instructed and trained.
Details concerning “Carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment” are now specifically included in the new ACoP .

The new ACoP states that they should be reviewed regularly or if there is a belief that the risk assessment is no longer valid.
The ACoP gives a number of specific circumstances where risk assessments should be reviewed.
(a) changes to the water system or its use;
(b) changes to the use of the building in which the water system is installed;
(c) the availability of new information about risks or control measures;
(d) the results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective;
(e) changes to key personnel;
(f) a case of legionnaires’ disease/Legionellosis associated with the system.

Review of control measures are no longer simply guidance, they are now specifically included in the new approved code of practice and must be reviewed regularly.

HSG274 Part 1, The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems

Cooling Towers & Evaporative Condenser Systems

  • Weekly chemical, equipment & system checks remain as previous L8 Guidance
  • Legionella sampling is still required quarterly as a minimum.
  • Dip-slide required weekly.
  • Table 1.8. Showing typical tasks are defined in HSG 274 (part 1)
  • The table states – “They are not universally applicable and tests may be omitted or added as appropriate, for the specific cooling system, make-up and system water character and the water treatment technique employed”.

Cooling Tower Cleaning which was previously required as six monthly has been re defined as should be cleaned “regularly”.

Specific guidance is given on the cleanliness of cooling tower and packing and the detailed inspections required.

Photographs are provided within the technical guidance to illustrate the required cleanliness of the system.

The guidance states that the “frequency and scope of regular cleaning and disinfection operations should be determined by an assessment of the fouling potential.” (HSG274 part 1 para 1.11)

The HSE describe the legal status of the ACOP L8;

This Code has been approved by the Health and Safety Commission with the consent of the Secretary of State. It gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. If you follow the advice you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which the Code gives advice. You may use alternative methods to those set out in the Code in order to comply with the law.

However, the Code has a special legal status. If you are prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a Court will find you at fault.