The snappily named Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (moratorium Debt) (Consequential Amendment) (England) Regulations came into force on Monday 3 May 2021.
Following the Government’s announcement last week, businesses are considering how a return to work might look. With many premises being left unoccupied (or minimally occupied) during the lockdown, both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have warned of the increased risks of Legionella growth in stagnant and unused water systems.
Legionella – employers’ obligations
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes the provision and maintenance of systems and facilities that are safe and do not cause risks to the health of employees.
Employers are also required to control substances that are hazardous to health, including germs that cause diseases (such as Legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaires’ disease) in accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (‘COSHH’). COSHH requires that employers prevent or reduce exposure to hazardous substances by assessing the risks and implementing appropriate control measures.
The Health and Safety Executive’s guidance states that any water system that has the ‘right’ environmental conditions could potentially be a source for Legionella bacteria. As such, a water hygiene risk assessment should be carried out by employers (or a contractor appointed by the person in control of the premises) for all water systems. This assessment should be regularly reviewed.
What are the risks during/following the Covid-19 pandemic?
Following the Government’s measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, a significant proportion of the UK population has been required to stay at home, leaving many buildings unoccupied for weeks, possibly months.
Ensuring that water does not stagnate in the system is crucial to reducing the risk of Legionella. There is, therefore, an increased likelihood of Legionella bacteria building up in the water systems of buildings left unoccupied (or with minimal occupancy).
If your premises have been unoccupied or minimally occupied during the crisis, there may be an increased health risk to occupants upon their return.
It is important not to assume that because the water system on your premises was previously low risk, it will remain so after a period of disuse. Buildings should not be re-occupied until duty-holders have taken all reasonably practicable precautions to control any water hygiene-related risks that may have arisen during the lockdown. Businesses should promptly review their current water hygiene risk assessment to reflect current usage and consider whether there is a heightened risk of Legionella as a result of the lockdown.
Where risk is identified, appropriate next steps (such as interim control measures or water testing and/or treatments) should be determined and actioned in a timely manner, and in any event, prior to the premises being re-occupied.
For further guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, please see here.
For more information
Should you require any advice regarding employers’ health and safety obligations, please contact Lorna Kenyon from our Regulatory team.
What is a post-nuptial agreement and why do people enter it? Find out more in this ebriefing.
This ebriefing considers the Government’s proposals to simplify the procurement procedures, as set out in Chapter 3 of the Green Paper entitled “Using the right procurement procedures”.
In the second of a two-part episode, trainee solicitors Tom Corrigan, Precious Melia and Sike Olawale discuss what a training contract looks like at Anthony Collins Solicitors.
Cases involving large-scale IT contracts are quite rare and the recent case provides a useful judgement for matters involving digital transformation projects which have gone wrong.
From 4 May 2021, The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) comes into force. This scheme provides debtors with the right to legal protection from their creditors.
Birmingham-based Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) has announced a raft of new promotions, including appointing three new partners.
EOTs have been aggressively marketed as a tax-free share sale, but that should not deter practitioners from raising EOTs.
Remuneration for the supply of goods and the power to award equitable allowances.
The government did not accept two of the Law Commission’s recommendations - as they saw them as important safeguards in protecting charities interests in property.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.