When did you join Dantek?
I was the very first employee at Dantek when I joined the company in 2003! I started my career as a Water Hygiene Engineer; cleaning tanks, temperature monitoring and descaling showers.
I started at bottom and worked my way up to now being one of the lead Legionella risk assessors at Dantek. I have carried out over 2000 legionella risk assessment surveys and reports, so have built up a vast breadth of knowledge from straight forward domestic hot and cold water systems to cooling towers and industrial process systems.
Becoming a Legionella risk assessor?
Becoming a qualified Legionella risk assessor takes time and for me evolved from being a Water Hygiene Engineer. It starts with on the job training, learning about identification of risk while temperature monitoring and carrying out checks on water systems. Dantek have a training programme for legionella risk assessors which includes class room based learning, practical training and mentor assessment. Once this has been satisfactorily completed the next step is to qualify with City and Guilds, WMS courses in risk assessment.
I feel experience is the thing which really qualifies you and this can only happen over time. You need understanding in order to assess risk. It is vitally important to understand a system for example; when risk assessing a cooling tower you have to know how they work and what chemicals are being used to treat the system, in order to know how this may impact the assessment of risk in regard to legionella bacteria.
Where do you start when carrying out a legionella risk assessment?
I assess holistically and always from first principle, by starting at the point at which the mains water enters the building and tracing the water systems from the mains, cold water tanks or calorifiers. It is important to gather as much information from the client, especially about the management of Legionella control on the site and who are the key responsible people involved with managing the risks identified.
What challenges do you come across?
Buildings can be deceptive from the outside, often a seemingly straight forward building from the outside can house a complicated process system which can be challenging, but also the most satisfying to assess.
The report writing can be challenging as the assessment of risk can take time to work out once all the data has been collected and considered.
What work are you most proud of?
Definitely the work I have carried out for the NHS. I know the guidance; HTM 04-01 inside out and have built up a really strong relationship with Plymouth Livewell and Wonford Hospital, both of which I have worked with for over 10 years. It is a big responsibility to be working where there are high risk populations but also satisfying to know your work is making a difference.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the variety of the work and going to quirky places for example risk assessing an abattoir or a military base. Schools can be challenging particularly when the students are there as they can be very curious about what you are doing.
I enjoy the flexibility of my work, and value the trust and level of responsibility I have at Dantek.
I have a really good friendship with Martin Kingdon (Technical Director) stretching back to pre-Dantek days, and have received a huge amount of support from Martin over the years. His knowledge of Legionella is vast and I can always turn to him for guidance and reassurance when dealing with the more technical assessments I come across.
What do you like doing for fun?
I love spending time with family and going on holidays. I am a lifelong passionate surfer, there is nothing better than being out on a wet winters day when no-one is around. I am also a big fan of Formula 1 and relish the chance to catch up on the latest Grand Prix on a Sunday evening.