When our engineers carry out Legionella risk assessments they are trained to gather visual evidence as part of the process. Photography and schematic drawings are an essential part of assessing and recording the risk of Legionella within a water system but many people are unsure how to do it and why they matter. Here’s our guide to collating such evidence.
Firstly, what is the point of taking photographs? Along with the written contents of the risk assessment, tick boxes and data (e.g. water temperature readings), recording the physical condition of the key components of the water system at a particular moment in time acts as an important record of the level of risk.
Since Legionella takes advantage of physical weaknesses within domestic plumbing – such as cracks, rust, dead legs, blind ends and long runs of pipe – being able to prove that the system is in good condition is a key requirement. Similarly, if there are issues which need to be addressed, having photographic proof of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ demonstrates that you have carried out any necessary remedial work.
The beauty of modern digital technology is that gathering, filing and saving photographic evidence during a risk assessment couldn’t be simpler. Using just a smartphone or tablet, our Legionella control app, CAT-SI, enables us to take pictures, store them securely on the cloud and insert them into the risk assessment document with ease.
If you’re not using an app which automatically prompts you to take certain pictures, you may be unsure about what you need to photograph. Water systems come in different shapes and sizes, but as a general rule you should use the following shot list as a guide:
- Water tanks – photograph the interior and exterior of the tank to record if there is any sediment inside
- Hot water cylinder
- Showerheads, taps and other outlets (to record level of limescale present)
- Pipework, especially any high risk areas such as dead legs
The other key piece of imagery you need to generate is a schematic drawing. This is a plan of the plumbing system, denoting all the relevant components (e.g. tanks, pipes, valves, outlets including taps, showers and toilets) and sketching out how the various elements of the system are connected. It needs to be simple to understand and it’s important to update it if you make any changes to the plumbing system.
While creating these important visual assets for your risk assessment isn’t difficult, it does require an element of knowledge and skill. If you are considering doing it yourself ensure that you are properly trained and that any course or qualification you take covers this sufficiently. If in doubt, call in the professionals and we can provide you with a Legionella full risk assessment service.