There is a document published by the Health & Safety Executive that deals with best practices for controlling legionella bacteria found in water systems. It is titled “Legionnaires’ Disease, Approved Practice and Guidance.” Part of the document contains information related to the Service Provider Code of Conduct.
Although there is no specific legal mandate to comply with the Health & Safety document, following it or at least keeping it in mind might help buyers learn about the levels and safety of service they are likely to obtain from service providers who comply with the Code of Conduct.
In order to make an informed decision regarding service providers who choose to abide by the Legionella control code of conduct, buyers need to understand several points in advance.
Legionnaires’ Disease, Approved Practice and Guidance
As stated above, the code of conduct is voluntary, and service providers are not legally required to register with the Health & Safety Executive. However, the Legionella Control Association’s official position is that the majority of responsible service providers in the field will have an interest in registration and compliance.
- The code came into existence in July 1999.
- The goal of the code is to be inclusive. However, registrants are still required to
- abide by certain minimum standards of entry.
- The code is progressive, which means that the requirements for sustained membership by which registrants must abide are designed to increase in scope and size with each passing year.
- Registration with the code indicates that a service provider is making a commitment to follow best practices and to remain in compliance with the code.
The goal of the code of conduct is to make sure that any service providers registered both set up and keep up solid systems of management so they will be able to provide a consistent level of service in keeping legionella bacteria under control.
It is important to note that the Legionella Control Association cannot provide a guarantee that each worker in the organisation of each service provider will always stay in compliance with the policies and procedures of his or her parent company.
Justa as ISO 9001 may be applied anywhere and everywhere within an industry and does not confer specific accreditations to individual products or services, the code of conduct is also hands off in that it does not dictate or provide approval to individual services, products, or techniques designed to control the spread of legionella bacteria.
It cannot be assumed that the registration of a company means that the LCA has found the services or products offered by the company to be useful in keeping legionella under control.
Every company that registers with the LCA faces the obligation of providing two things: a current copy of the code of conduct and a current copy of their certificate of registration. These must be made available to every client of the company. At the same time, documentation must be used to stay within compliance, and a set of management procedures must be developed.
The registration process takes place each year, and during this annual process, the company is required to give the LCA their compliance statements, which are collectively known as the statement of compliance. The statement of compliance itself is a document that each company makes to explain the ways in which the company or service provider is remaining in compliance with the code of conduct.
This document may be provided to any parties interested in obtaining it. Within the document, service providers are also expected to refer to other procedures that they have documented in the control of legionella when appropriate. The LCA then reviews the statement of compliance to determine whether or not it suggests that the code of conduct’s standards are probably being followed at a high level by the service provider.
If the LCA deems the statement of compliance to be inadequate or insufficient, then the service provider will need to go back to the document and the procedures it describes and revise and resubmit both until they meet the satisfaction of the LCA.
Finally, audits are carried out by LCA assessors on site with registered members every 2 to 3 years. Formal auditing is required of all members, but again, a successful audit does not indicate perfect compliance, and buyers are encouraged to do research themselves.
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Author: +Duncan Hollis