Understanding the legionella Risk Assessment Process

Many commercial operators choose to contract out the responsibility of running Legionella risk assessments to an independent professional provider. The ultimate responsibility lies with the property owner/operators, however, it is essential to make sure that a suitably qualified and competent water safety expert is actually doing the job, as a suitably qualified professional could actually find themselves falling foul of both the government and industry regulators, and this could seriously damage the reputation of both sectors. It is a good idea therefore to seek a second opinion. This is where a specialist organisation like the Water Industry Authority or WPI can offer their assistance by undertaking the Legionella risk assessment for you.

legionella risk assessment

What exactly does the WPI do during a legionella risk assessment? Firstly they will visit the site to assess the level of risk, for example if it is an above ground storage tank installation they will carry out this assessment and take on the responsibility of ensuring that storage tanks are installed correctly and safely. The WPI will also assess the site against any other identified risks such as flooding, storm damage or other water system risks. Once all risks have been assessed then the next step will be to carry out the actual evaluations and determine what the short and long-term consequences could be for the operators, as well as identifying any possible actions to mitigate these effects. This will mean the identification of what actions need to be taken in order to protect the workforce and customerele from the potential effects of these adverse events.

As previously mentioned it is the responsibility of the operator of the facilities to ensure that all work complies with all applicable regulations and rules, as well as those laid down by the Health and Safety Authority (HMS). The WPI will carry out routine inspections and identify any problems or risks which need to be addressed to reduce the likelihood of infection occurring, or the growth of bacteria within the water systems. They will also carry out random tests on the tanks themselves to determine the PH levels and other indicators of poor maintenance. Finally they will identify any physical or chemical defects on the site and report these to the company managing the installation. It is important to remember that legionella bacteria can only be killed by high temperatures, so it is advisable to install storage tanks at high temperature to kill any bacteria before any personnel interact with the water system itself.