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Water risk management team

Each facility should form a water risk management team (team) that would be responsible for managing the risks from Legionella and other water‑related hazards in each facility. This is best achieved through a water risk management plan (WRMP), developed by a competent team, comprising personnel with the appropriate skills and knowledge to effectively implement the WRMP.

Who should be in a water risk management team?

The team should be multi-disciplinary and involve staff members who undertake day-to-day activities within the facility. All members of the team should be aware of the risks and nominated persons should have the authorisation and ability to manage them.

Suitable team members may include:

  • a person responsible for the day-to-day operations of the facility, for example, director of corporate services, nurse manager, operations manager, general manager etc.
  • a person responsible for infection control within the facility
  • a clinician who has knowledge of the vulnerability to infection or harm of patients or residents in the facility
  • a person responsible for the building maintenance, particularly the water distribution system and water quality
  • a person responsible for workplace health and safety
  • a person who will have administrative responsibility for WRMP (including documentation and reporting) and
  • a person able to provide necessary approvals and resources for implementing the plan and when responding to an incident.

Team size

The size of the team, the skills required and the responsibilities of individual team members will depend on the complexity of the facility. A small facility may have a small team with personnel operating with multiple responsibilities, such as both nursing manager and workplace health and safety representative while large facilities may have larger teams.

A facility may not be able to assemble a team representative of the full range of skills required to implement and manage the WRMP in which case training of staff or accessing external expertise may be required.

Details of the team members should be documented in the WRMP:

  • name
  • position in organisation
  • team responsibility
  • email
  • phone

Person in charge

Under section 61D(g) of the Public Health Act 2005, and section 2Z of the Public Health Regulation 2005 (PDF, 646KB), a WRMP must identify the person in charge, by position title.

The person in charge is responsible for complying with sections 61H (obligation to notify the chief executive of a Legionella detection) and 61I (obligation to provide reports to the chief executive for a reporting period) of the Act.

Team responsibilities

The most important responsibility of the team is the effective implementation of the WRMP for the facility. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • develop or be involved in development of the facility’s WRMP (including description of water distribution system, identification of hazards and risk assessment)
  • ensure all staff understand their roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the WRMP. For example, if cleaning staff are responsible for routine flushing of outlets they should know why they are doing it, and follow the procedures for routine flushing of taps and showers during cleaning of patient or resident bathrooms
  • ensure records for all operational monitoring and verification monitoring results are maintained
  • ensure corrective action procedures are available and training to staff is provided, as required
  • ensure an appropriate response to operational monitoring and/or verification monitoring results that are outside critical limits
  • ensure an appropriate response to other identified risks in the WRMP, such as boil water alerts for town water supplies and interruptions to supply during disasters
  • review of the WRMP after any detection of Legionella or any other hazards identified in the risk assessment.
  • review and update the WRMP at regular intervals, following changes to the facility plumbing or operations and following any major incidents that are related to the water distribution system.

Resources

Last updated: 23 January 2017