Legionella risk assessments - training for schools

Legionella risk assessments - training for schools

Posted on May 13, 2016

Legionella training for schools



As a teacher or someone who works in a school environment, it’s your job, and your passion, to keep the children you teach and care for safe from harm of any kind. But harm can be present in many forms.

Who would have considered the water fountain in the hall or changing room showers potentially fatal? Not many of us – but Legionella is a genuine risk and one that you need to be aware of.


What is Legionella?

Legionella is bacteria that causes illnesses collectively referred to as 'Legionellosis'. The most common of these is Legionnaire's Disease, a severe form of pneumonia affecting the lungs.

Infection occurs when we breathe in water vapour that contains the bacteria. It’s not contagious, but if it isn't diagnosed and treated quickly and properly, Legionnaire's Disease can be fatal. Treatment for illnesses caused by legionella bacteria normally include a course of antibiotics, and early detection of the illness is key for survival.



Symptoms of legionella normally appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria. They include:

  • Headaches
  • Energy loss
  • Chest pains
  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches


Guidance for schools

Due to the nature of educational settings, it’s common that a natural risk will be present due to the substantial volume of stored water and the intermittent use resulting from half terms and end-of-term breaks.

The Department for Education have written a guide aimed at local authorities, proprietors, school leaders, school staff and governing bodies giving advice on standards for school premises, this includes guidance on water systems and covers legionella. If you fancy reading the guide yourself, it can be found here.

They suggest that distribution temperatures and legionella controls need to comply with HSE guidance on managing legionella in hot and cold water systems, but what is this guidance? Fear not, flick are here to explain all.


HSE Guidance – what should you do?

Water temperature control

Water services should be operated at temperatures that prevent Legionella growth:

  • Hot water storage cylinders (calorifiers) should store water at 60°C or higher
  • Hot water should be distributed at 50°C or higher (thermostatic mixer valves need to be fitted as close as possible to outlets, where a scald risk is identified)
  • Cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C


Risk assessments

Carrying out or arranging a risk assessment is essential. If you don’t feel sufficiently competent to carry out the assessment yourself, you can call on help and advice from a trained professional. The risk assessment that is carried out should include the following points:

  • Management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person and a description of your system
  • Competence and training of key personnel
  • Any identified potential risk sources
  • Any means of preventing the risk or controls in place to control risks
  • Monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures
  • Records of the monitoring results and inspection and checks carried out
  • Arrangements to review the risk assessment regularly, particularly when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid (We’ve included a risk assessment template for you here.) 


Other tips

As part of your ongoing monitoring and general maintenance, you may also find the below points useful:

  • Identify who is responsible for regular inspections of the water services and systems
  • Identify who will be conducting the routine monthly temperature monitoring tasks
  • Establish who will be responsible for cleaning shower heads, tanks and systems when required
  • Establish who will be responsible for maintaining records
  • Establish who is responsible for non-conformance and corrective actions

Ensure the competence and of your staff and keep your children safe by registering with flick today and completing our Legionella training. Follow the link below and get started. What are you waiting for?


Buy flick's RoSPA accredited Legionella training


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