Routine Legionella monitoring and record keeping are key pillars of effective Legionella risk assessment. They are crucial procedures that help protect public health. They are also critical for gathering data to determine the success of operational and maintenance practices designed to control Legionella and other pathogens.
Unfortunately, many businesses and organisations still fail to have a well-organised system for these procedures. As such, they run the risk of having a poor risk assessment plan and the possibility of encouraging the growth and spread of the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria in their water systems.
If your organisation still doesn’t have an efficient, centralised monitoring and record keeping system as part of your Legionella risk assessment, the following reasons may help push you in the right direction:
1. You will have an easier and faster time updating your records
Legionella risk assessment and control involves the execution of many tasks and activities. These include:
• Water sampling and testing
• Temperature monitoring and regulation
• Cleaning, disinfection and flushing
• Tank inspection, cleaning and chlorination
• Compliance with current water regulations and policies or codes of practice
With numerous areas and procedures to track, a monitoring and record system that is time-consuming to review and update will simply cause confusion and frustration to your duty holder and other involved employees. This is a situation that can be hard to avoid, especially if you have a large building or have several huge properties where different checks have to be carried out at different times.
When you have a good checking and recording system (particularly an online one), all key persons can update records wherever they are. And as a result, everyone involved knows exactly what type of work has been carried out and when it was done.
2. You will have easy access to data
As the owner, manager or duty holder of various buildings or establishments in different locations, there will be instances wherein you will need to see and update your Legionella records anywhere and anytime.
This is something that you can easily do easy when you just have one consolidated system. Although you are off-site, you can effortlessly track the results of your Legionella assessment and control. You simply connect to the Internet and update your records. You will also have peace of mind that everything is up-to-date even if you are not in the office.
3. You will avoid recording and seeing various versions of the same events
Having no or limited access to your record system can be frustrating, especially if you want to know when the last inspection and water quality testing have been done. However, having to deal with disorganised and inconsistent data can be equally annoying.
When Legionella risk assessments and follow-up actions are recorded in just one system, you can be sure that there is a single version of the truth at all times. Everyone will be able to view only the real data. There will be no redundant information that will cause key persons to make costly mistakes.
With just one system, you won’t have to conduct a lengthy task that requires time, money and hard work only to find out that it was already done last week. You will also avoid missing out on an integral part of your assessment and control plan due to the disorganisation of the system which can put people at risk of Legionella.
4. You will prevent the possibility of data loss
Paper documents or a locally stored record-keeping system can get lost or become corrupted. These can happen when a fire, flood or hard-drive crash occurs.
You can avoid these headaches when you have an online, centralised monitoring and record keeping system that is fast, reliable, and easy to implement. An efficient system will serve as the backbone of your Legionella risk assessment and control plan. It can be a valuable tool that will help protect your employees, clients, or customers safe from Legionella bacteria.
As an establishment owner, keep in mind that the HSE requires all Legionella risk assessment and control records to be kept throughout the period for which they remain current and for a minimum of two years after that period. Also, results of any monitoring inspection, tests or evaluations carried out and the dates they were conducted have to be retained for at least five years.
The Importance of Record Keeping
Legionella monitoring and record keeping come hand in hand because they will be useful in the event of an audit. All the risk assessments you have conducted, the results you acquired, and actions you have taken will serve as evidence that all necessary steps have been taken to keep Legionella bacteria under control.
These records will also be valuable for future staff, especially in the event that you will change your designated duty holder or water treatment company. The records will allow the successor to know everything that has to be done to ensure continued Legionella compliance and avoid any costly mistakes.
In conclusion, an efficient, organised monitoring and record keeping system will allow you to keep track of your Legionella risk assessments and control procedures. With this system in place, you can also be certain that the correct activities are carried out at the right time.
Author: Duncan Hollis