Perfect for confirming Legionella compliance for Responsible Persons and Duty Holders
What is an Independent Legionella Audit?
Many people often ask us 'What is an Independent Legionella Audit and why do I need one?'
What is the purpose?
Well, consider for a moment that you have been newly nominated the "Responsible Person' for your business with respect to Legionella Management.
- Hopefully you already know about Legionella bacteria and its potential risks.
- Hopefully you have already had relevant training with respect to being a Responsible Person (You'll be surprised the number of people that haven't had any training before being assigned the role!) and therefore already have a good understanding of the importance of fulfilling the role.
- Hopefully you have all of the required paperwork, records and assessments in place for managing Legionella on your site and that they are being kept up-to-date.
- Maybe you even have an existing contractor that routinely comes in and helps you with specific tasks such as flushing, cleans and disinfections and / or water sampling.
But how do you know that all of this would stand up to an investigation and the scrutiny of an external stakeholder inspection?
The purpose of an Independent Legionella Audit is therefore to give you, and ultimately your Duty Holder, the confidence that everything that you are currently doing right now with respect to Legionella Management is fully compliant prior to having any issue or unexpected visit.
How the audit unfolds...
Depending on the needs of the client (remember you can set the scope of the audit that you would like!) an independent Legionella auditor will come in and will initially, often, take a top-down approach to the specific area in question.
If the client has not set a specific scope for the audit then the auditor will most likely take a systematic approach through the entire subject area. This will involve, for example:
- Auditing any existing Legionella based Health and Safety Policies within the business
- Reviewing any existing Legionella Risk Assessments carried out of the site
- Reviewing and auditing any existing Written Schemes of Control in place
- Reviewing and assessing any existing training matrices for relevant employees
- Completing a walk-around of the entire site and focusing on water-based systems
- Talking to relevant employees with respect to their roles and activities they carry out
- Reviewing existing 3rd party contractors agreed roles and responsibilities
- Benchmarking current working practices of said contractors to their accreditations that they may be signed up to i.e. Legionella Control Association - Code of Conduct
- Reviewing any paperwork and physical work carried out by said contractors
Once these and a number of other activities have been reviewed, the role of the Legionella auditor will then be to start identifying any potential gaps that may exist in the client's existing programme so that they can be informed and the client can start the process of rectifying them. (Don't worry this is not the independent auditor scouting for additional work! In fact, this is actually a requirement laid out within the Approved Code of Practice, ACoP, itself for any consultant or water contractor within the industry)
Any significant risks that have been identified will immediately be discussed with the relevant employees to ensure that solutions can be found as soon as possible, to prevent any unwanted issue with respect to Legionella bacteria.
Depending on what the independent Legionella auditor finds they may then wish to ask further questions and / or review further documentation before finally having enough notes in order to be able to give the Responsible Person a comprehensive report of their findings in due course.
What an Independent Legionella audit is.....
- Similar to an MOT of your car but for your business by an independent specialist
- A review of current working practices versus what is expected by law to ensure compliance is being achieved
- A positive activity that results in a better understanding of your system and ultimately your roles with respect to Legionella management
- A fresh pair of eyes that will uncover any gaps in your paperwork, training and policies
- A fresh pair of eyes that will potentially highlight poor working practices by your employees and / or 3rd party contractors
- An improvement plan to strive for not just good practice but best practice
- A benchmarking process that can be utilised for just one site year-on-year or used across multiple sites to compare and contrast, identified, different working practices
Most importantly though it is an opportunity to uncover any potential issues before they materialise into any form of ill health and lastly to confirm that you are actually doing a good job in the first place!
What an Independent Legionella Audit is NOT...
- An audit that should be used to internally discipline against
- A criticism of your existing work and employees
- An audit carried out by someone with a vested interest i.e. an existing 3rd party contractor
For more information...
No matter how big or small, contact us today for more information on how we can assist you and your business with the management of Legionella Bacteria.
IOSH Approved Legionella Courses
Looking for high quality training?
We have been the current authors and lecturers of IOSH Approved Legionella courses for over 25 years now. If you require a training course that covers everything from Legionella Bacteria, Responsibilities, Contractor Management and the current changes in the law (and more) then look no further. Click on the links below for our latest open course dates and information: