An Overview of Health and Safety Legislation Related to Water Treatment

9th November 2016

Health and safety legislation, which covers water treatment practices, aims to minimise risk to building occupants and members of the public. The law, as discussed in the following article, applies to commercial settings. Hygiene is paramount when it comes to designing and maintaining water systems, whether for drinking water or facilities. The following provides a summary of the legislation and regulations which deal with water hygiene.

Disease Prevention

The first key piece in the legislation tool kit is the Approved Code of Practice L8 – Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems. This document outlines the risk-assessing requirements for business building owners in terms of identifying sources of potential Legionella contamination. Under the guidelines, it is specified that a risk management plan must be implemented to manage and maintain Legionella precautions.

Alongside this is the BSRIA Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessment. The two pieces of legislation go hand in hand. The BSRIA delineates a framework for assessing the risk of Legionnaires’ disease developing in a range of settings. It requires companies to document levels of risk and remedial actions.

Healthy Buildings

SFG/ 20 – Maintenance Specification for Building Services is regarded as the industry standard for compliance when it comes to provision of building services. Maintenance managers, landlords and business owners all need to follow the detailed maintenance schedules specified under this piece of legislation. It applies to heating and cooling systems, pipes and waterworks, ventilation and electrical systems.

Ventilation and Air Quality

There is a specialist piece of legislation which applies to kitchen ventilation within workplace settings. B&ES TR/19 – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems sets out necessary cleaning regimens which ensure that kitchen ductwork is kept working efficiently and cleanly. This reduces fire risk and improves air quality. The legislation explains how, and how often, grease extraction systems should be cleaned, depending on the type and frequency of cooking. It also lays out how building owners can protect themselves by recording cleaning activity and documenting their compliance.

HTM 03-01 also safeguards air quality, but this time in healthcare services. This document outlines the requirements for air quality control in healthcare settings to protect patients and employees, and covers both installation and design of systems as well as ongoing management of air hygiene.

COSHH (Control of Substances Harmful to Health) also applies to building services and lack of compliance could result in serious criminal proceedings. COSHH requirements for employers and estate managers are extensive. It is paramount to monitor air quality and eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure to airborne pathogens and contaminants which could cause illness and disease.

Health and Safety at Work Regulations

These also contain specific requirements for employers regarding maintenance and inspection of ventilation systems to make sure that they are in good working order and are providing building occupants with healthy, clean air. The regulations set out how the duty of care in terms of air quality is to be achieved via documented maintenance and cleaning schedules.