IHEEM & The Authorising Engineer (Water)
In this guide the healthcare specialists at Legionella Control International look at the role of IHEEM and the Authorising Engineer (Water).
Our experts consider how the institute can help to improve water quality standards and support hospitals and other healthcare organisations in meeting their regulatory compliance obligations, maintain good water quality, and deliver safe water supplies to patients, staff and others.
A version of this story dealing with the role of the Authorising Engineer (Water) first appeared in Legionella Control International’s newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
Achieving safe water in healthcare premises
The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care issues numerous guidelines designed to highlight the importance of managing safety in various businesses and fields. To the uninitiated, managing health and safety can be daunting and overwhelming. This would certainly be true in some of the more technical areas such as hospital and healthcare environments.
For example, water supplies must always be kept safe and free from contaminating bacteria and other potentially dangerous microorganisms. While some business owners can follow simple steps to ensure a basic water system remains safe, others are faced with far more complex scenarios. Imagine a large, complex healthcare facility, for example – a hospital, a large care home, or similar building where there are likely to be numerous people with poor health present. In such cases, it becomes far more important to ensure all relevant health and safety rules and policies are followed to ensure the safety of patients, staff and other people is maintained.
What is an Authorising Engineer (Water)?
In healthcare environments an Authorising Engineer or AE is a specialist who is trained and experienced in specific operational activities such as Decontamination, Medical Gases, Electrical and Water. For example, a hospital or healthcare organisation could hire an Authorising Engineer (Water) to provide specialist advice and support on how to manage and ultimately deliver and distribute safe water supplies within its facilities.
What is IHEEM and what does it do?
The Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM) is a specialist institute formed to support the healthcare estates and facilities management sectors.
IHEEM, through its members supports the growth of healthcare engineering and good estate management by promoting competence and commitment to best practice in healthcare environments.
An IHEEM Authorising Engineer (Water) is a water systems specialist with the skills and competence to advise and support healthcare organisations in accordance with the requirements set out in HTM04-01 and the HSE’s ACOP L8 and technical guidance HSG274.
An independent expert advising on healthcare water safety
As an independent specialist, an Authorising Engineer is not part of the business hiring them. Instead, they can operate independently to assess situations and make recommendations on how the hospital can adhere to the guidance provided within the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 00, Policies and Principles of Healthcare Engineering, HTM04-01 and all other pertinent documents from the Health and Safety Executive and Department of Health and Social Care. Indeed, the role is mentioned in the HTM documents.
IHEEM Authorising Engineer water safety specialist
The Authorising Engineer (Water) should be familiar with all the elements that are related to water systems within a healthcare setting and how to keep them safe. This extends from the design and installation of a safe water system to keeping an existing system safe and free from microbiological contamination. Such contamination could include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella, Stenotrophomonas, Cupriavidus and other waterborne pathogens.
If you were to appoint an Authorising Engineer of this nature, you would be reassured at receiving advice and support from someone who has suitable training and expertise in the area of safe water systems within the healthcare sector.
Expert water systems advice and technical support
An Authorising Engineer will not take on the role of an Authorised Person (AP) or a Designated Person (DP), but they can and do provide expert advice and technical support to both. They can also deal with audits and will monitor any management systems in place to ensure all relevant documentation and regulatory requirements are met.
As such, appointing an Authorising Engineer (Water) is an easier way to make sure you meet all your obligations in managing a water system of any size to keep it safe. Any set of guidelines can be daunting to read for someone not experienced in that area. An Authorising Engineer can bridge that gap and ensure the system is kept safe.
Healthcare water safety specialists and IHEEM Authorising Engineers
Our Authorising Engineers (Water) and healthcare water safety specialists support those responsible for the control of waterborne pathogens in healthcare environments, helping them to meet their health and safety obligations in this specialist area. We are experienced in the role of Authorising Engineer (Water) and deliver professional water safety risk assessments for legionella, pseudomonas and other waterborne pathogens, water testing, independent compliance auditing, City & Guilds training and other environmental risk management services that help keep staff and others safe.
If you have questions about any of the issues raised above or you would like to speak with one of our healthcare AE Water specialists please call us today on 0330 223 36 87 or contact us here.