Revised British Standard 8580 on legionella risk assessments issued by BSI

Business standards company the British Standards Institution (BSI) has released British Standard BS 8580-1:2019 Water Quality, Risk Assessments for Legionella Control – Code of Practice. This is a significant revision to the 2010 British Standard providing further guidelines for assessing water quality and the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

The British Standard gives recommendations and guidance on the assessment of the risk of Legionellosis presented by artificial water systems. Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by bacteria of the genus Legionella, an opportunist pathogen which normally inhabits warm, moist or aquatic environments. The most serious and potentially fatal is Legionnaires’ disease.

Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease continue to happen today. Recently, an apartment building in New York City saw 50 casualties and two fatalities, while in England and Wales UK Government statistics reported four cases in 2018.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers or those people in control of premises are responsible for understanding the associated health risks and for carrying out appropriate risk assessments such as those for Legionella. Therefore, in 2010, BSI published the first edition of this British Standard, BS 8580:2010, offering the necessary recommendations and guidance.

Changes to Approved Code of Practice

By 2014, the Health and Safety Executive had restructured and made changes to its Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) and guidance for controlling Legionella bacteria in water systems, known as ACoP L8. It then separated ACoP L8 from its technical guidance which was further developed by industry groups into three distinct parts:

*HSG 274 Part 1 is concerned with cooling towers

*HSG 274 Part 2 is concerned with hot and cold water services

*HSG 274 Part 3 is concerned with “other” systems

Various factors prompted this revision of the original British Standard published in 2010, namely the separation of the ACoP L8 and HSG documentation and the shift from a single description of the risk assessment process and outputs to the recommendations for the frequency of inspection in each of the individual industry group (HSG 274 Parts 1, 2 and 3).

It also takes new information, published in 2017 as HSG 282: Control of Legionella and Other Infectious Agents in Spa Pools, into consideration.

Never underestimate the risk

David Fatscher, head of sustainability at the BSI, said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the risk Legionnaires’ disease poses to society today. Having updated guidance and recommendations for its prevention is as important as ever. This revised British Standard aims to enable anyone with responsibility for the Health and Safety of others in public premises, across the spectrum from the workplace to hospitals, to undertake the necessary risk assessments and adopt adequate prevention measures.”

In 2019, the BSI has decided to offer tracked-changes versions of key standards that have been revised to help users see clearly what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. BS 8580-1 can be acquired as a simple standard or as a ‘tracked-changes package’ where customers receive both the new standard and a tracked-changes version.

Both versions are available in hard copy or PDF.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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