Copper Ionisation in Legionella control

Copper Ionisation in Legionella control

From 1 February 2013 it will be illegal to sell or use water treatment systems that use elemental copper in order to add copper ions to water as a biocide. It will also be illegal to supply the copper needed for their use. The action has been taken at EU Level under the Biocidal Products Directive because no manufacturer supported the use of elemental copper for use as biocides in these systems during a review period that ended in September 2011. The HSE’s primary concern is that legionella control is not compromised. Businesses and organisations have a responsibility to manage the risks from legionella and it is essential that these duties continue to be met. In addition, the HSE intends to pursue an ”˜essential use derogation’ for use of copper in legionella control systems in the UK. It is necessary to encourage users of these water treatment systems to contact the manufacturer to discuss a way forward.

Who can be appointed to test or monitor Legionella?

Anyone can be appointed as long as they have the relevant skills to implement the control measures and strategies, i.e. they are suitably informed, instructed, trained and assessed. They should be able to ensure that tasks are carried out in a safe, technically competent manner.

Who can undertake the risk assessment for Legionella?

The employer or a person in control of premises must appoint someone competent to help manage health and safety duties, e.g. take responsibility for managing risks. If you decide to employ contractors to carry out your risk assessment or other work, it is still the responsibility of the competent person to ensure that the work is carried out to the required standards.

Carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment

The purpose of carrying out a risk assessment is to identify any risks in your water system. The competent person should understand your water systems and any associated equipment, in order to conclude whether the system is likely to create a risk from exposure to legionella.

Controlling the risks from Legionella in the water system

The key point is to design, maintain and operate your water services under conditions that will either prevent or adequately control the risk from legionella bacteria. It is important that you either have, or have access to, competent help to fulfil these obligations. If you identify a risk that you are unable to prevent, you must introduce appropriate controls. You should introduce a course of action that will help you to control any risks.

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