Legionella control: a guide for FMs

The Water Hygiene Centre’s Craig Morning offers a guide for facilities management organisations on Legionella control

Facilities management companies are subject to an array of contracts specifying what needs to be done in each building, from the contract with the building owner to those with sub-contractors or specialists needed for particular work. So, for facilities management companies, are the responsibilities to control waterborne pathogens such as Legionella as simple as the contracts state, or is there more to it? In short: yes, there’s much more to it. Many other tasks are required that are not always directly specified but without which it cannot be assured that the contracts have been fulfilled.

First, it’s imperative that the exact nature of what’s being asked in each contract is understood – if there are areas of ambiguity, these should be resolved before work starts. If the organisation is a member of the Legionella Control Association, the first commitment is to ensure that clients are aware of their obligations under ACoP L8, HSG 274 and any other applicable guidance, such as (S)HTM 04-01 or (S)HTM 01-05. A clear and concise document should be produced confirming who is responsible for carrying out each task so that nothing is missed. If water treatment/hygiene companies are employed to help deliver part of the work, they too should be named in this document.

Before work starts, the next step is to establish an agreed method for completing each task and providing evidence the work is being completed by competent staff. On many occasions, the Water Hygiene Centre finds that some basic water hygiene training has been completed by staff that are either directly employed or employed by a sub-contractor, but who have no evidence of competence. The guidance documents use the term “competent” rather than “trained” for a reason. That is: being trained to a standard is important, but you need to be able to carry out the work both to that standard and in a safe manner. It is important to be able to provide evidence of this in the event of an inspection by the HSE or any other bodies.

Risk assessment

A water system risk assessment for the property should be carried out to identify the assets on site and what pre-planned maintenance is required. Once the schedule of pre-planned maintenance tasks begins, the findings should be reviewed and actions taken if the results fall outside the recommended ranges. Formal review meetings with the client should be held regularly (depending on the risk profile and compliance data) to discuss the system performance and, if any results fall outside the recommended ranges, ensure appropriate works are completed.

These steps should help facilities managers to understand and carry out their full water safety responsibilities. However, the Water Hygiene Centre can provide additional support to many facilities management companies as risk assessors or by authorising water engineers across the UK. It can offer assurance to facilities management companies that the systems and assessments in place are correct, and highlight any areas of weakness before any significant failures occur. It can also give building owners an independent view on performance following the annual Water Safety Audit, a comprehensive summary of compliance and water safety, for greater peace of mind.

For more, visit waterhygienecentre.com

Image credit | iStock

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