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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Risk Assessment for Cooling Towers Maintenance

Most of the people don’t know and familiar with the health hazards regarding cooling towers. However, such cooling systems may have a significant threat to human health, both for employees and the general public, particularly from biological terms (Legionella bacteria). Wherever they are installed, employers must make sure a risk management plan is in place at all times that the system is in work. Maintenance must be conducted appropriately and regularly, including being audited annually by a certified, competent and approved agent. Any alterations, such as system relocation, any additional installation or removal of any part or entire cooling mechanism, must be notified to the concerned authorities ASAP.

What Are the Possible Risks from Cooling Towers?

These cooling tower systems can harbour dangerous bacteria (Legionella), and, when not maintained appropriately, the chance of such biological infectious diseases and the development of disease increases due to inhalation. Persons accountable for specific cooling towers areas are in operation are legally responsible, obliged to register the systems and conform to government legislation entities and institutions where the systems exist. If they fail to fulfil such requirements is likely to lead to prosecution and heavy financial losses.

Where biological infectious diseases concern such as Legionnaire’s disease is a critical illness that can arise from exposure to the airborne Legionella bacteria from cooling tower mechanism. The heath issue not only specific to the persons near or within the system’s premises, anybody can be affected, but those considered to be at higher risk may also be:

  1. Over fifty years old
  2. A smoker
  3. Male
  4. A heavy user of alcohol
  5. A sufferer of existing chronic medical conditions

The persons who are affected with such serious bacterial infectious disease are generally same as to influenza and include high fever, severe headache, shortness of breath, muscle cramp & pain and maybe a continuous dry cough. There is normally a two to ten-day incubation period from the time of such legionary infection to the appearance of symptoms. Any employee/worker or person who is suffering from the symptoms highlighted above and who may have been exposed to Legionella should seek medical advice immediately.

The personals who are Accountable? What did they require to Be Adopted?

The technical workers or staff who are accountable for cooling towers should keep updated government (the state where the business exist) technical guidelines related to cooling tower mechanism and related hazard risk identification. Informative and mandatory advice and recommendations on Legionella Risk Management can also be found on various websites across the world ‘s countries. 

Serious and prompt care and attention must be given to the proper and effective maintenance of such cooling towers systems in several various areas, such as mentioned below are:

  • Stagnant water
  • Nutrient growth
  • Poor water quality
  • deficiencies in the cooling tower system
  • Location and access
  • Any matters identified

Each of these specified areas will be thoroughly checked as part of the authorised audit to ensure that health risks are minimised.

Maintenance of Cooling Towers

The maintenance of such cooling system is legal requirement that the owner of the land on which a cooling tower mechanism should ensure that registration is accomplished and a risk management plan is available, which is reviewed, and updated if mandatory, at least once a year.

Cooling Tower Water Quality and Treatment

The water of cooling towers must be continuously treated with one or more biocides know to be effective in controlling the growth of micro-organisms, including Legionella. Substances or chemicals which reduces scale formation, corrosion and fouling must be utilized as well as a bio-dispersant.

Disinfection, Cleaning and Re-Disinfection of Cooling Tower Water

The accountable person must make sure that chlorine-compatible bio-dispersant is added to the recirculating water of the cooling tower system and that the system is then disinfected, cleaned and re-disinfected as soon as possible prior primary start-up following commissioning or after any system shutdown exceeding one month and at intervals, not more than six months duration.

Routine Service and Testing of Cooling Towers

The accountable technical staff/employee must make sure that the cooling tower mechanism is serviced properly at least once a month to check for possible defaults, that a sample of recirculating water is derived and sent to biological testing laboratory for testing and reporting for Heterotrophic Colony Count (HCC).

At least after every three months a sample of recirculating water is taken and sent to a laboratory for testing and reporting for Legionella presence and detection possibility.

The accountable technical person must maintain all records for cooling tower mechanism, controlled by them having all maintenance and corrective activities undertaken and all microbiological (Legionella etc.) test results of samples taken for the previous year.

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Risk Assessment for Cooling Towers Maintenance 

Risk Assessment for Cooling Towers Maintenance-Article

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