Legionella control in practice

Identify and record details of personnel involved in legionella risk assessment and control, including the dutyholder, the responsible person(s), service providers or contractors and any other members of staff involved.

Have a legionella risk assessment carried out by a person who is competent to do so. This must include assessment of dental chair units and dental unit water lines. Refer to Risk Assessmentfor further details

Develop or commission a written control scheme that sets out control measures and states who is responsible for managing the scheme. Refer to Control Scheme and Managementfor what should be included in the written control scheme

Appoint a responsible person who is trained to manage the written control scheme to ensure that the documented control measures are being carried out effectively.

Ensure staff are made aware of the risk assessment and the control scheme and that they are given suitable and sufficient information, instruction and documented training to implement control measures. e.g. the responsible person observes and documents each member of staff carrying out control procedures annually.

Monitor the implementation of the written scheme and review the risk assessment regularly. Considerations include:

  • has there been any change to the water system?
  • do checks show whether the control measures remain effective?
  • has there been a significant legionella breach or case(s) of legionella infection suspected or confirmed to be associated with the practice’s water system?

Ensure that staff follow a written procedure for the control measures to minimise the risk of growth of bacteria in dental unit water lines. Refer to Dental Unit Water Lines

Confirm with your Health Board in what circumstances you should notify them about legionella contamination in your practice and who to contact. For example

  • Where the water temperature consistently fails to meet the parameters set out in the Written Control Scheme
  • Prolonged failure to carry out control measures described in the Written Control Scheme, such as flushing dental unit water lines.

If there is an increased risk of colonisation or case(s) of  legionella infection, follow the action plan within the written control scheme, including notifying your Health Board without delay.

Ensure that the above information is documented, for example within a practice policy (see Legionella Policy and Procedure template), and that staff are aware of it.