Key messages

  • Auditors are required to follow the Guidelines for auditing risk management plans for cooling tower systems.
  • Auditors must be certified through the approved training course developed by the department in conjunction with Melbourne Polytechnic.
  • Auditors are encouraged to contact the department for advice about any difficulties that arise.

Information for cooling tower system risk management plan (RMP) auditors and for anyone preparing for a RMP audit. As part of the auditors certification, they are required to follow the Guidelines for auditing risk management plans for cooling tower systems.

Should you have any questions, contact the Legionella team.

Certified auditors - cooling tower system risk management plans

The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires that only people approved by the department can be engaged to conduct cooling tower system risk management plan audits.

Auditors can be found using the department’s public register.

Guidelines for auditing risk management plans for cooling tower systems

The Guidelines for auditing risk management plans for cooling tower systems are intended to assist approved auditors in their role of auditing cooling tower system risk management plans. The document contains templates that can be used in the auditing process and a spreadsheet to use to notify the department of all audit results. This document explains how to put the auditing requirements of the Act into practice. Following the directions in this document is a condition of certification as an approved auditor.

The department has developed an electronic notification system for all audits and non-complying audits. Auditors should use the RMP audit summary template to advise the department of all completed audits by email to the Legionella Team.

The department must be notified of all audits within 7 days of completion.

Please email the department’s Legionella team with any queries regarding audit or registration dates.

Where any difficulty is encountered in the audit process auditors are encouraged to contact the department for advice.

A copy of the guidelines and associated templates can be downloaded.

RMP auditor certification

Section 94 of the Actallows the Secretary to certify that a natural person is competent to conduct a risk management plan audit and approve that person for the purposes of the Act.

To be considered for certification, the applicant must satisfactorily complete the training course developed by the department in conjunction with Melbourne Polytechnic.

For information about approved auditor training courses please contact:

Melbourne Polytechnic

Telephone: (61 3) 9269 1614

Training: 2015

Venue and dates for the 2015 Cooling Tower System Auditors Course (SBE269)

CAMPUS

DAY

START DATE

END DATE

START TIME

END TIME

SESSION

Preston

Tues

13/10/2015

16/10/2015

9:00 AM

4:00 PM

OPEN

If you are interested contact Michelle Uniacke on 9269 8615.

Application to become a certified approved auditor of cooling tower system risk management plans

Certification of approved auditors

Section 94 of the Act allows the Secretary to the department to certify that a natural person competent to conduct an audit of a cooling tower system risk management plan and approve that person for the purposes of the Act.

Section 95 of the Act requires that a person must not conduct a risk management plan audit unless he or she is an approved auditor. A penalty of up to $6,000 applies to offences against this section.

Competency

To be considered for certification, the applicant must satisfactorily complete the training course developed by the department in conjunction with Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT).

The course consists of two modules:

  • Module A – Internal Quality Auditing (IQA) (2 days)
  • Module B – Cooling Tower Auditors Course (3 days).

In attendance at this course, individuals will need to demonstrate skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • quality concepts
  • auditing of documents
  • the link between Legionella in cooling tower systems and Legionnaires’ disease
  • the design and terminology used in cooling tower systems
  • legal requirements applying to all parties
  • cooling tower system risk management plans
  • audit approach and methodology.

Certification process

Following completion of the auditor’s course an application can be made to the department to become a certified auditor.

Typically approvals are granted for 1 year and subject to the auditor complying with certain conditions such as compliance with these Guidelines for auditing risk management plans for cooling tower systems. Once a person has been certified as an auditor, they will receive a Certificate of Approval to act as an approved auditor.

There is currently no fee for certification, other than costs associated with the NMIT training programs.

Revoking certification

Section 94 of the Act allows the Secretary to revoke a person's certification as an approved auditor if the Secretary is satisfied that:

a)the certification was granted on the basis of fraud, misrepresentation or the concealment of facts; or
b)the person is not a suitable person to be an approved auditor; or
c)the person has failed to comply with any requirement imposed by this Act or the regulations on approved auditors; or
d) the person has unsatisfactorily carried out 2 or more risk management plan audits; or
e) any other ground which is prescribed for the purposes of this section applies.

Before a certificate is revoked the Secretary must give the person an opportunity to be heard.

At the time of printing no other ground had been prescribed under (e).

Conflict of interest to be avoided

The purpose of s. 97 of the Act is to ensure that risk management plan audits are conducted by an independent person. The Act says that an ‘interested person’ must not conduct a risk management plan audit.

An interested person is defined in s. 97 of the Act as:

(a) the owner of the land on which the cooling tower system stands;
(b) the owner of the cooling tower system;
(c) a person who was involved in the construction or installation of the cooling tower system;
(d) a person who was involved in the maintenance or testing of the cooling tower system during the period covered by an audit;
(e) a person who has written, or has assisted in the writing of, a risk management plan for the cooling tower system;
(f) a person who has reviewed, or has assisted in the reviewing of, the risk management plan for the cooling tower system.

If an auditor is unsure whether they are an interested person for a particular audit, they may contact the Legionella Team to discuss the matter.

A penalty of up to $6,000 applies to offences against this provision.

In 2008 the department was notified of 3,476 audits, of those 3,268 (94%) were compliant. Due to historical legislative requirements the notification of audits to the department is not evenly distributed throughout the year, as can been seen in Figure 1.

The Legionella Team is responsible for conducting an investigation where reviews and audits have not been conducted within the relevant timelines.

Figure 1: Notification of audits, 2008


auditors-legionella-risk-management-plans-graph