Unfortunately, in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic and new Government Guidance, the Leasehold Management Professionals (LMP) Brighton and Bristol events have been postponed until further notice.
We feel this is the right decision to make given the circumstances, however, we wanted to make sure that the delegates and other Property Management professionals have access to some of the key points on Asbestos and Legionella, that Gary had included in his talk in Bournemouth (and would have spoken about at both the Brighton and Bristol events).
Gary is one of our Lead Health and Safety Advisor and has over 10 years’ experience with 4site Consulting. On a day-to-day basis, Gary carries out a variety of tasks including Health, Safety and Fire Risk Assessments, Compartmentation surveys and Access Audits on both residential and commercial properties as well as offering technical support in the office, advising and assisting our clients with health and safety matters in relation to the buildings they own or manage.
Gary’s talk focussed on how Property Managers and Landlords should be managing the risks from Legionella and Asbestos and we have incorporated some of the main points below.
5 things that Property Managers should know about Legionella
The law is clear that if you are a Landlord or Property Manager you will need to ensure that the properties you manage are safe and free from health hazards (HSE). Duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASWA) extend to risks from Legionella bacteria and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella. Furthermore, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP): Legionnaires’ disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) contains practical guidance on how to manage and control the risks in water systems.
Below, we have listed 5 important facts about Legionella and Legionnaire’s disease, that you should know:
- Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal form of Pneumonia caused by Legionella Bacteria. In 2019 there were 519 confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease, and in 2018 there were 814.
- Legionnaires disease is contracted through the inhalation of small droplets of water (aerosols) suspended in the air; most commonly through showers, air-conditioning units, taps, sprinklers and other outlets that cause an aerosol.
- The symptoms of Legionnaires disease include: high temperature, cough, muscle pains, headache, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and signs of mental confusion.
- Legionella bacteria need the right conditions in order to survive; with the right environmental conditions, any water system can be a source of growth for Legionella. Legionella bacteria thrives if:
– temperatures are between 20°C and 45°C (The Human body temperature is 36.1-37.2, ideal for the growth of legionella bacteria)
– there are sources of nutrients such as rust, scale or organic matter
– there is no flow and water is stagnant
- As an employer, or somebody in control of the premises (i.e. Landlord or Property Manager), you are responsible for Health and Safety and therefore need to take the correct precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to Legionella. These duties include: identifying and assessing sources of risk, managing any risks, preventing or controlling any risks, and keeping and maintaining the correct records; more information about this can be found here.
Control of Asbestos and the Duty to Manage
Asbestos remains the UK’s biggest workplace killer; 20 tradesmen die a week from past exposure to Asbestos. This is why it is so important that we control Asbestos and ensure that people (such as Contractors, Tenants and Property Managers) are not exposed to it during their everyday working activities.
Below, we have answered some key questions in relation to Asbestos, Asbestos related diseases, and your duties as somebody in control of a premises.
What is Asbestosis and what are the symptoms?
Asbestosis is a serious long-term lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to Asbestos. Some of the symptoms of Asbestosis include: difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, hyper tension, and swelling in the neck and face.
Where is Asbestos likely to be found?
Asbestos can be found in a number of different areas of a property, some of the lower risk Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) include: floor tiles, cement flues and sheets, and textured Coating. Whilst some of the higher risk ACMS are sprayed coating, loose fill, dust/debris, and AIB Ceiling tiles.
Do materials need to be tested to confirm they are
There is no way to definitely identify asbestos by sight, it needs to be tested by an expert. Many materials that do not contain Asbestos look just the same as materials that do. You should treat all suspect materials as Asbestos unless proven otherwise. When samples are taken by our Surveyor during an Asbestos Survey, they are taken to a UCAS Accredited Lab for testing.
What is the ‘Duty to Manage’?
The Duty to Manage Asbestos is contained in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The Dutyholder (employer or person in control of the premises such as a Property Manager or Landlord) is responsible for reducing the risks of exposure to Asbestos and should be taking four essential steps in order to comply:
- Find out whether the premises contain Asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what conditions it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain Asbestos
- Assess the risk from Asbestos present in the premises
- Make a plan to manage the risk and act on it
- Provide this information to other employers (e.g. building contractors) who are likely to disturb any Asbestos present
If you are Dutyholder you should have an Asbestos Management Survey carried out by an experienced Surveyor, who will assess the premises to find out if it contains Asbestos and take samples where necessary to confirm. You should then be acting on the findings and evaluating the risks, and seeking expert advice on recommendations. You can find out more about what to do next, here.
If you require any further guidance in relation to Asbestos, Legionella or any other health and safety matters please get in touch. We are now working from home but are still contactable via phone and email.