Many public water systems choose to contract out the responsibility of conducting Legionella Risk Assessment to an independent contractor. The ultimate responsibility for complying with the guidelines set out by the manufacturer but most importantly, however, rests with the local owner/manager of the treated water plant, it is therefore essential to make certain that a suitably qualified water hygiene expert is also able to demonstrate compliance with the guidelines.
By contracting with a qualified external water quality specialist, a water quality report is generated that details the findings of an on-site survey as well as a full analysis of the plant and surrounding field. Whilst these reports are not comprehensive nor do they comprise all inspections, they are nevertheless highly useful to understand the health risks associated with various types of disinfection processes. Due to the high level of care which is required to carry out Legionella Risk Assessment it is not unusual for several different professionals to be involved in the process.
There are a number of benefits in conducting a legionella risk assessment; firstly, if recognised, this bacteria may be prevented from making an unwanted return to the water supply and thus saving money and effort in both long-term and short-term management. In addition, providing information to customers about the bacteria’s presence can help them to take additional precautions to avoid exposure. Equally important, however, is ensuring that these systems meet stringent guidelines and are certified compliant so that appropriate regulatory action can be taken to control any future occurrences.
In addition to ensuring that all applicable legislation is being followed at all stages of operation, a sound legionella risk assessment can also reduce the level of risk to staff, customers and the environment. This is particularly important given the relatively low level of personal knowledge which exists within the healthcare sector regarding the causes, prevention and management of this type of bacterium.
A legionella risk assessment is essential in the planning of new facilities or when installing new equipment into old ones, as this type of bacterium can easily evolve in new locations, particularly under the influence of temperature, moisture, lighting, food preparation practices and cosmetics. Therefore, when something changes at any of the stages of the facility, it is essential to conduct regular checks and risk assessments to identify any new risks or trends. By doing so, health-care organisations can save money on unexpected expenditure as well as protect their staff, patients and the environment.