A Day in the Life… of Legionella Risk Assessor

by Neil Bielby, on 25-10-2023

Legionella Risk Assessor - Neil Bielby

I’m Neil and I joined the Water Hygiene Centre in 2021. My role within the company takes many forms, being a field-based Legionella Risk Assessor and a Technical Manager, giving a broad scope of varied work daily.

As a Legionella Risk Assessor, my initial decision to join the Water Hygiene Centre came from wanting to develop more in line with the HTM 04-01 documents on the healthcare side, visiting hospitals, medical centres, and care homes having only limited experience within these areas.


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The best advice I was given during my initial training was instead of looking at this huge building or buildings and thinking about how to assess something of this scale, which can be daunting, break it down into sections i.e., plant rooms, corridors, side rooms on a floor by floor basis then just piece the puzzle together whilst using any on-site schematics and documents that are available from site.


I think for me personally the most difficult part of the role to contend with (which I still haven’t and don’t think you can fully) are the surroundings, it’s difficult to shut off when people are struggling with illness within these environments and it can be overwhelming.


The critical care units, such as chemotherapy, and childrens wards, in particular, are difficult knowing each person is struggling with their own battle, and having my own children and also, unfortunately, having a personal loss recently is something that you don’t consider when you take on a particular role and how to disengage the parent in yourself.


It is, however, uplifting to see the strength and resilience of the patients and how they can smile and continue whilst staying positive and it's always an honour to see the bell being rung at these coincidental moments.



Risk Assessment - Neil BielbyDue to the nature of the business and the ever-changing scenes, it’s difficult to keep up with every change that’s happening whether it be a small fitting or a new circulatory system, The Water Hygiene Centre stands out hugely for this with two development days a month to enable you to learn about changes to guidance documents and developments within the field.


This is an enormous benefit if you have been on-site and have seen something that required more clarity, whether a system you are unfamiliar with or something newly developed. Using the information received from the site and the information that can then be obtained by having the flexibility over time frame rather than the “churn it out” approach (which can be seen elsewhere) helps enormously.


The development days also go hand in hand with the technical side of my role where I sit down with colleagues and we look at the processes and procedures that we have in place and how these may have been impacted by changes within recent guidance documents, system designs and more importantly by our assessors and clients.


We can give anyone a method, a system and a way of conducting work. However, as new members join the team and we discuss topics with our clients, alternative views are brought to light and we look to see how this can be incorporated, always asking “Will this help”, does it make it easier for the client to understand, maybe it makes it more user friendly for the Legionella risk assessment team, with the end goal always the same, which is an improvement for all parties.


Due to the responsibilities placed on us as a company whether it be the UKAS Legionella Risk Assessments or ILM-recognised Legionella training we provide, it means we need to keep our standards high and keep progressing in an ever-changing industry.


The work within my role can be stressful due to the demands that I, as an individual, put myself under, however, the people I meet and the colleagues I work with are all resources I can call upon. Within my technical role, it’s good to have the team of Legionella Risk Assessors and Authorising Engineers (Water) as a collective which, with everyone’s combined experience and knowledge, means the answers are usually not too far away. As Socrates once said


“it is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one”


We pride ourselves on upholding the highest standards set by governing bodies and we understand that to stay ahead, we need to be flexible and open to continuous development. The secret to this is the collective minds of the incredible people we work with. By collaborating and sharing knowledge within our team, we can avoid falling into the trap of following incorrect information. Together, we create an environment where everyone thrives and delivers outstanding results for both our clients and our business.


If you have questions regarding the issues raised above or you would like to speak with one of our consultants, please click here to get in touch. 


Editor’s Note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the date of original publication – October 2023.

© Water Hygiene Centre 2023


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About the author

Neil Bielby

Neil joined the Water Hygiene Centre in 2021. Neil enjoys meeting site personnel & finding out the backstories of the locations he's working in, he also likes looking at different variations of systems whilst seeing how the systems develop over time with new technologies and advancements.

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