Day in the Life of a Legionella Consultant
What exactly is Legionnaires’ disease? Well to quote directly from the HSE themselves: Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing viable Legionella bacteria. Such droplets can be created, for example, by: hot and cold water outlets; atomisers; wet air conditioning plant; and whirlpool or hydrotherapy baths. – Couldn’t have put it better myself!
Being a Water Hygiene Consultant is a full 360 role. You have the usual site visits with clients where a full survey of the occupying water systems are reviewed for defects, characteristics and overall workings. Then you could be leaning towards a more technical job where you’re giving clients either legionella awareness training as a whole, or more specifically about their own site.
But to break it down step by step:
Firstly, of course, I would jump in the car and head to site! Once there I would personally sit with the clients and go through various documentation, whilst explaining exactly what they can expect from the whole process. The documentation I am looking for specifically would be a previous assessment, remedial works/recommendations given in that last report, records for temperature monitoring flushing and any legislative documentation regarding their control measures and key personnel (also known as the management structure).
Once we are satisfied with the paperwork, we would begin with the site audit itself. Now each consultant has their own way of going about this – but me personally, I take it room by room cataloguing exactly what relevant assets there are and once this has been done, overview the system as a whole.
Now to break that down, as asset could be anything from a wash hand basin to a toilet, to a hot water storage vessel, to a cooling tower. Quite literally it is anything that can contain/use/produce water or more importantly an aerosol. The scope of the assessment is usually predetermined with sales and the client beforehand so you may be there to just assess a cooling tower, or perhaps you there just to look at the domestic hot and cold water system and not include the process system. It varies job to job.
Once I am happy I have reviewed all of the sites assets, taken the water temperatures and added them to our report template, I would once again sitting down with the client and go over the findings. The most common problems we come across are during these assessments are little used outlets (outlets that are not part of the regular day to day usage), heavily scaled taps, low hot water temperatures and dead legs (pipework leading to nothing or being capped but still part of the live system). Problems like these all contribute to a build-up of legionella bacteria in the system which of course, is no good.
After the site review has been carried out and all the information gathered, it’s time for the write up of the risk assessment. Initially a few small paragraphs will be written with a summary of the management structure, operational factors and inherent factors. Once that has been done other details about the site and management staff in charge of it will be noted, along with any remedial or legislative recommendations that we suggest should be taken to ensure total compliance and complete safety of its workers and the general public (all in line with HSG274 of course!).
Now that is just the assessments… we also carry out various consultancy jobs which can really be anything the client wishes, cold water storage tank cleans, various water sampling, temperature monitoring and soon the possibility of closed system analysis.
To summarise the role overall, especially working at EEUK Group, it would be best to say it’s varied. Whether it’s the type of site your working on, or the type of job your carrying out it really can change day to day!