Maintenance and engineering managers face a host of challenges each day in ensuring the safe, cost-effective and energy-efficient operation of institutional and commercial facilities.

Beyond new challenges, managers also must be aware of age-old issues that can arise suddenly and create major problems. One such problem is Legionnaires’ disease, an ever-present and stubborn threat that also can have a potentially deadly impact. A recent cluster of outbreaks of the illness offer a reminder that the challenge remains for facilities.

Coffey has qualified and experienced occupational hygienists on board who have more than 10 years’ experience in managing Legionella in cooling towers and warm water systems.

Our in-house expertise and resources can assist all stakeholders with the following:

Understanding and complying with the legislation

To prevent the growth and transmission of Legionella bacteria cooling water systems must be managed safely. Infection may cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

All state regulations, legislation and codes of practice require a performance based (or risk management) approach to managing cooling water systems. This approach allows each system to be managed according to its risk of Legionella contamination.

As per the legislation all facilities with cooling towers must carry out the following:

  • Risk assessment of Legionella contamination, documented in a Risk Management Plan (RMP) – every five years (or more frequently if required)
  • Providing certificates of RMP completion and audit completion to the local government authority
  • Sampling and testing for Legionella and heterotrophic colony count – every month
  • Notifying reportable laboratory test results
  • Displaying unique identification numbers on all cooling towers

The requirements for building occupiers to test for Legionella  bacteria varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and our team can help you navigate your requirements no matter where your assets are.

Legionella risk management consulting

It’s critical in the operation of cooling towers and water delivery systems that the success in minimising the risks associated with Legionella is prepared, reviewed, and audited annually.  Our team’s extensive experience in Legionella risk management means we can implement the logistical measures necessary to prevent and minimise outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease. The key to our success lies in our capacity to proactively manage scenarios likely to cause issues, prior to them ever occurring.

Development of cooling tower risk management plans

If not appropriately maintained cooling towers can allow Legionella bacteria to grow, which in turn enables the release of this organism into the air, which can then result in workers or members of the public contracting Legionnaires disease.

We can assist in conducting a risk assessment of your cooling tower system and importantly develop a cooling tower risk management plan. Our team utilises relevant state regulations in conjunction with Australia’s strictest guidance document, the Victorian Government publication: Guide to Developing Risk Management Plans for Cooling Tower Systems.  

Development of Legionella risk management plans for critical care facilities  

Legionnaires’ is a respiratory disease that can affect anyone but the elderly or anyone suffering from a chronic or acute illness are at particular risk.  Our team will develop risk management plans that unique address these risks. This will be developed in line with the enHealth guidelines for Legionella plus relevant guidelines for other microorganisms presenting risk to critical care facilities.