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Legionellosis Control: Meeting Legislative Requirements

NHS trusts have to meet legal obligations to avoid the risks of hospital acquired infection. These make it essential
to control the environments likely to be contaminated by Legionella. Under
Health & Safety legislation, a Trust is liable for ensuring safety. Individual Trust
directors and managers as well as their contractors are personally liable too.
Preventing outbreaks of legionellosis is most easily achieved through regular
inspection and maintenance of hospital water, cooling and air conditioning
systems. But how can a Trust’s directors and managers be sure that inspections
and maintenance is being carried out according to directions? How can they
demonstrate that actions match the processes they intend to be followed?
Technology can help by making it clear which pieces of equipment have been
checked when and how. Electronic tagging can be used to help manage the
inspection and maintenance regime.
Trust directors and managers are
personally liable for Health &
Safety legislation breaches that
Solutions to the Risks of Non-Compliance result in the spread of Legionella.

In 2000, the Health & Safety Executive published the L8 Code of Practice and Guidance in 2000 specifying the management
responsibilities and actions needed for control of Legionellosis. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 spells out the
penalties for failing to do so. Processes that meet the L8 Code,
will go a long way to demonstrating that a Trust’s directors,
managers, FM operators and contractors have taken the
necessary precautions. However, it is also important to show
that the processes are operated effectively and that, if any
outbreak occurs, it happens in spite of correct procedures both
existing and being followed by the Trust’s own staff and their
contractors, FM providers or maintenance suppliers.
Electronic tagging using radio frequency identification (RFID) is
already widely used for keeping track of maintenance and repair
operations. It can be used to monitor the inspection and
maintenance regimes for places where Legionella bacteria thrive.
RFID systems depend on small electronic tags that can be
attached to the items that need to be inspected. These tags can
be read by computer systems to identify each item when they
are inspected. Using RFID, management can show that
Hospitals such as Addenbrooke’s Hospital already use RFID maintenance routines are being carried out and can prove a clear
technology supplied by CoreRFID for uses such as security chain of accountability for the safety of each and every point of
guard patrol tracking. potential risk.

How Does It Work?
RFID tags, each with their own unique identity, are attached to air-conditioning and cooling systems, warm-water baths, spa
baths water reservoirs in humidifiers, nebulisers in respiration machines and cooling towers. They can then be used to manage
As each site is visited the inspector uses a compact, hand-held, reader to
check the tag of the item concerned. Placing the reader alongside the tag is
sufficient to register that it has been checked. The Benefits
Tags can also be provided to each inspector, allowing every check to be • Gives full accountability down to user
associated with an individual. and asset ensuring compliance at all
Different technologies allow the tags to be of different sizes and formats levels.
(some as small as a grain of rice, others embedded in printed labels or others • Helps remove the risk of missed
enclosed in robust housings for use in hostile environments). As a result all inspections, reducing the danger of
sorts of devices can be tagged easily. infection and increasing patient safety
Differences in the nature of the tag mean that some tags need to be read • Removes manual errors by collecting
from a distance of only a few centimetres while others can be read from 10’s data accurately,
of metres away. Systems for legionellosis inspection applications typically
• Makes inspector’s work schedules
use tags which can only be read from a short distance away, with the reader more efficient by providing prompts
almost touching the tag. In this way tags can be positioned at the areas of for Planned Preventative Maintenance
greatest risk, ensuring that and inspections.
inspection plates are actually
opened, for example. • Allows for automated allocation of
follow up actions to remedy faults.
In the simplest sort of system an
RFID reader is used to collect • Saves time and effort when compared
with systems using paper forms.
details of the tags checked during
an inspection tour. At the end of
the tour, the data from the tags checked is transferred to a computer which checks
that all the tags which should have been checked have been. If a site has been
missed a follow-up visit can be scheduled automatically.
An alternative approach uses a small hand-held computer (PDA) equipped with an
RFID reader for inspectors. This allows the system to provide the inspector with the
list of locations to be checked and a series of prompts explaining just which checks
are needed at each location. Systems that allow inspectors to use a PDA also let
A compact PDA and RFID reader in a
protective housing can prompt and them record areas of concern where further checks are needed or where some
monitor maintenance checks. intervention is needed to either avoid health risks or simply to prevent failure.
Once again the information collected is transferred to another computer and
flagged for follow-up.
Unlike systems that use paper forms, an RFID based inspection management system provides accurate identification about
inspection points, easy collection of suggested follow up actions and time-stamped details of who conducted each inspection.
CoreRFID provides complete systems to support implementation of the inspection and reporting regimes required by the HSE
L8 Code of Practice and Guidance and the Health and Safety at Work Act, covering tags, readers, hand-held computers and
associated software which can be linked ot existing facilities record systems.

About CoreRFID
Contact us at:
CoreRFID Ltd. Dallam Court, Dallam Lane, Warrington, U.K. WA2 7LT
T: +44 (0) 845 071 0985 F: +44 (0) 845 071 0989 W: E: