Services: Risk Assessments for Legionellosis

By: Aquachem  05/12/2011
Keywords: risk assessment, water systems, Health Protection

International and local guidelines place responsibility on designers, suppliers, installers, maintenance companies and employers to do all that is responsibly practicable to ensure the safety of not only the people at the place of work, but also other people that may be affected by the work activity. In the case of water systems this applies in particular to all systems which operate between 20 and 600C and which can produce aerosols or droplets.

 

Poor water management and system design have been identified as the main reasons for the deterioration of water quality, which can lead to the development of the Legionella and other bacteria. For this reason, a positive effort is required by all parties concerned with the maintenance of water systems to set up a WATER HYGIENE MANAGEMENT SCHEME.

In order to provide practical guidance on this matter, The Health and Safety Commission in 2000 in the UK produced an Approved Code Of Practice and Guidance 'The control of legionella bacteria in water systems' L8. This gives advice on how to comply with the law and also has a special legal status in that if a person or company are prosecuted for breach of Health and Safety Law, and it is proved that the relevant provisions of the ACOP have not been followed, then the Court will find the person at fault, unless it can be proved that the law has been complied with in some other way.

In 2009 the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre (part of the Health Services Executive) produced new guidelines called “National Guidelines for the Control of Legionellosis in Ireland”. These guidelines also advised that actions as outlined in the UK L8 guidelines should also be carried out in Ireland.

The subjects covered by the Guidelines which are relevant for ALL types of water systems are as follows:

  • Risk Assessment of all Systems
  • Managing the Risk, Management Responsibilities, Training and Competence
  • Preventing or Controlling the Risk from Exposure to Legionella
  • Record Keeping
  • Responsibilities of Employers, Manufacturers, Suppliers, Installers and Maintenance companies.

In order to comply with the Guidelines a full Risk Assessment must be carried out to establish the site conditions and risks.

Once this risk assessment has been completed site management need to ensure that they manage the risk and that staff are trained in control procedures to minimise the risk from Legionella bacteria on their sites.

The AquaChem Water Hygiene Logbook System in soft or hard copy versions allows the operators of equipment such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and all other systems that are capable of producing aerosols (water droplets) and which operate at between 20 and 60 to comply with the requirements and as such contains not only the risk assessment, but also the methods and log sheets that should be used to control the risk.

The log book is simple to use and by completing the relevant log sheets site managers of water systems can fulfil their legal obligations as outlined in the National Guidelines for the Control of Legionellosis in Ireland and the UK L8 Guidelines.

Keywords: Health Protection, risk assessment, water hygiene, water systems

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