» UKAS awards First Accreditation for Legionella Risk Assessments

07 September, 2010

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has granted the first ever accreditation for conducting Legionella Risk Assessments in the UK. Healthy Buildings International (HBI) is the first body to be accredited against internationally recognised standards to assess for the risk of legionellae in water systems.

Although legionellae organisms rarely pose a significant danger when they occur naturally, people are at risk and vulnerable when they develop in purpose-built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, spa pools, and hot water systems used in a variety of premises (work and domestic).

HBI have successfully delivered indoor environmental consultancy services and workplace health and safety risk assessments since 1983 and together with UKAS have developed a framework for accreditation under both ISO/IEC 17020 (General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection) and British Standard BS 8580:2010 (Water Quality – Risk assessments for Legionella control – Code of Practice).

The British Standard has been produced in order to underpin The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approved code of practice and guidance document L8 (Legionnaires’ Disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems).

UKAS accreditation provides assurance of the consistency and quality of the inspections performed by competent organisations and consequently gives the consumer greater confidence in the safety of their environment.

Dr J Lee, Consultant Clinical Scientist at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said “HBI is the first organisation to be accredited in the UK for carrying out risk assessments for Legionella control. This is an important step. The imminent publication of BS 8580 should encourage more risk assessors to seek accreditation. This will assist clients in their selection of assessors and lead to greater consistency in Legionella risk assessments with consequent improvements in protection of the public health.”

Martin Reeve, UKAS Assessment Manager, said: “Where health and safety is concerned, accurate results are paramount. UKAS accreditation is a rigorous assessment, and accredited status not only guarantees the technical competence of an organisation, but also underpins confidence in their results. UKAS is delighted to be able to confer accredited status on HBI.”