Water Hygiene, Treatment
Dutyholders and Landlords Responsibilities for the Control of Waterborne Pathogens in Water Systems
Duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 apply to the risks from exposure to waterborne bacteria. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 provide a framework for controlling health and safety in premises. This includes requiring risk assessments, protective measures, arrangements for relevant personnel to be appropriately trained, informed and to have competent assistance in applying the control measures and implement procedures for the control of bacteria in water systems. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 provides a structure of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from biological agents such as bacteria like legionella ensuring suitable precautions are taken.
The Approved Code of Practice L8 for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems gives advice on the requirements for the exposure to legionella bacteria which poses a risk to health.
Our Risk Management Services Cover:
Water Safety Training
All personnel involved with the management of control measures and work activities, must be properly trained to a level that ensures tasks are carried out in a safe, technically competent manner. To ensure this, appointed person(s) are to receive regular refresher training. Our qualified trainers provide an extensive range of water safety training courses, from introductory awareness to an advanced level. This includes; classroom courses, seminars, public courses and practical skills-based workshops that have been specifically developed to meet the needs of candidates at all levels of technical competence and experience. We also deliver tailored training courses for clients at their premises.
Water Risk Assessment
A suitable and sufficient assessment must be carried out to identify and assess the risk of exposure to waterborne bacteria from work activities and water systems on the premises. Our expert assessors conduct risk assessments to determine a decision on whether the potential for harm to health from exposure is reasonably foreseeable. The assessor will identify the aspects of operation of the hot and cold water systems, management systems and advise on the necessary measures to prevent, or adequately control, the risk from exposure to legionella bacteria. Assess the effectiveness of the current precautionary measures for an effective written scheme of precautions to be implemented.
Written Scheme of Control
A written scheme of control is a specific risk management document that clearly identifies the precautionary measures required to control the risks from exposure to Legionella bacteria and who is responsible for managing and/or completing precautionary activities. Our experienced consultants can assist or conduct a comprehensive written scheme of control appropriate to the site specific water system. We undertake regular reviews of current written scheme of control and practices to ensure measures are achieved and remain effective.
Operation and Management System Audits
A compliance audit is a detailed review of the current policy, management plan, control procedures and day-to-day activities to determine whether current control is compliant with current legislation, guidance and it is effective. Our audits identify whether precautionary measures remain effective, the current condition and performance of the system, management systems in place and identify arrangements for control parameters and that monitoring is completed by a competent contractor.
Water System and Service Management
Water supply regulations and guidance documents are important in protecting public health, safeguarding water supplies and promoting the efficient use of water. Installations and appliances shall be operated in such a manner as to ensure their reliable performance. The water regulations set legal requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of water systems and water fittings. Our specialist consultants develop; tender specification documents, manage system projects, provide trusted advice on the water management regulations and guidelines to prevent misuse, water wastage, excessive consumption of water and to prevent contamination of process water and drinking water.
Closed Water System Treatment
Closed circuit or closed loop water systems are a convenient way of heating or cooling building service applications and industrial and commercial processes. The correct treatment of water in closed circuit or closed loop water systems, is essential to avoid microbiological fouling, corrosion and scale. Our experienced inspectors undertake closed system microbiological and chemical system analysis to identify the current condition of the system. Following this, advice is provided on the ideal water treatment programme identifying issues of biofouling, corrosion and scale, and which will also deal with sludge, suspended solids, and debris.
Microbiological Testing, Monitoring and Inspections
The risks from legionella and other waterborne bacteria should be identified and managed by undertaking appropriate inspections, microbiological testing and monitoring. Our competent inspectors routinely check and test water systems where there is a risk from legionella and other waterborne bacteria to ensure that:
- There is a good turnover of water and all water systems are in working order.
- Identified microbiological activity in water systems are determined for effective precautionary measures to be implemented.
- Adequate control parameters at outlets are achieved, water systems are clean from microbiological activity and materials that pose a risk are identified.
- Identified risks are escalated to the appointed responsible person and appropriate actions are taken to to eliminate, substitute or control the risk.
How Can We Help
Our specialist consultants assist the responsible person on a range of legionella, pseudomonas, drinking water, other waterborne pathogen prevention and control issues to comply with statutory requirements. We also provide closed system water treatment advice and testing. We assist in water system management, including project management and regulatory compliance.
Visit our contact page for more information or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Where can Legionella Bacteria be found?
Legionella bacterium and related bacteria are common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, however usually in low numbers. The bacteria may also be found in purpose-built water systems, such as evaporative cooling systems & hot and cold water systems. If conditions are favourable, the bacteria may multiply, increasing the risks of legionnaires' disease, and it is therefore important to control the risks by introducing appropriate measures.
What is Legionnaires' Disease?
Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious legionnaires' disease, as well as the similar but less serious effects of Pontiac fever, which is a milder illness that doesn't progress to pneumonia and is usually self-limiting. Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. The bacteria can be contracted by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain the Legionella bacterium.
People at Risk from the Disease?
Certain medical conditions also increase the risk of developing the disease. Anyone whose immune system has been compromised will also be less likely to fend off the effects of being exposed to legionella bacteria. There are other known risk factors that include the following:
- people over 45 years.
- heavy drinkers.
- heavy smokers.
- people with underlying health conditions or an impaired immune system.
- people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease.
- people suffering with diabetes, lung and heart disease.
- anyone with an impaired immune system.
Legionnaires' Disease Symptoms
The symptoms caused by the disease are similar to the flu. Muscle aches, headaches, fever, and tiredness are all common symptoms. The symptoms typically occur between 2 and 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. As the condition progresses, other symptoms may appear which will be more like pneumonia. Shortness of breath may occur with chest pain and confusion.
If any such symptoms appear, you should seek immediate medical help. They do not always mean you have Legionnaires' disease, but they should be checked out. If the disease is diagnosed, appropriate treatment will be provided.