Regular maintenance of cooling towers ensures health and safety, performance, durability, efficiency and compliance. Failure to do so can be costly and dangerous. Routine checks will help you get the maximum out of your equipment while also providing a clean, safe and compliant work environment.
Health and safety
Legionella or other bacteria borne illnesses can spread quickly through air conditioning systems so it is vital that they are kept clean and tested often to avoid any dirty, untreated water getting into the system.
A well serviced cooling tower system will not only ensure early detection of problems but also assure optimum performance throughout its lifetime.
Regular maintenance will help with early discovery of issues that could cause undue or excessive wear and tear on the cooling tower systems, enabling prompt correction.
Economical and efficient
A unit working at optimum performance will deliver the best results. Minor damage or faults can impact performance and if ignored, will lead to higher running costs and expensive repairs.
Cooling towers must be compliant and maintained in accordance with government regulations* and Australian Standard AS/NZS 3666: Air-handling and Water Systems of Buildings – Microbial control.
As a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking), building owner, manager or employer, you have a duty of care to ensure – so far as is reasonably feasible – that all personnel who conduct work on your buildings do so safely.
According to the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019*, cooling tower system routine service and testing obligations are as follows:
1. A responsible person must ensure that a cooling tower system is serviced at least once each month to determine whether the cooling tower system is operating without defects.
2. A responsible person must ensure that at least once each month a sample of recirculating water is taken and provided to a laboratory to determine the heterotrophic colony count of the recirculating water.
3. A responsible person must ensure that at least once every 3 months a sample of recirculating water is taken and provided to a laboratory to test for Legionella.
4. An assessment of the risk of Legionella contamination and preparing a Risk Management Plan (RMP) must be completed every 5 years (or more frequently if required).
5. An independent audit of compliance with the Risk Management Plan and Regulation should be completed yearly.
Apart from penalties for failure to perform these mandatory checks, you will also be left with unsanitary and unsafe cooling towers that could potentially lead to outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease among other illnesses.
Following the introduction of Workplace Manslaughter Laws, should an outbreak of something as deadly as Legionnaire's Disease occur in one of your buildings, you could be held liable for any deaths caused by that illness. This is just one of the consequences arising out of not performing regular cleaning and maintenance of your cooling tower and water treatment plants.
*Part 6, Division, Section 70 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019
How often are you servicing and testing your cooling towers?
If the cooling tower maintenance frequency is not compliant with regulatory requirements, one should analyse the reasons behind it. While monthly, quarterly and yearly maintenance, testing and inspection of your cooling towers can be a tedious task, it can’t be denied that it is an essential part of your duty of care. If it is not being conducted, could it be because of any of these reasons?
- Access is so difficult that employees and contractors just can't get to the machinery.
- There is no safe way to perform the duties and workers must take unnecessary risks, making them reluctant to do the work.
- Systems installed are old, non-compliant and dangerous.
- Systems are cumbersome and do not allow easy access to the equipment, making it nearly impossible to carry out maintenance or testing.
- Systems are difficult to use and require personnel with higher skill levels to be able to operate them.
Cooling towers often present access problems – they may be located in confined spaces and there may be a requirement to work at height. If working at height is necessary then access systems need to offer the assurance of fall protection to the worker.
Since the cooling towers will need to be accessed at regular intervals for maintenance, it is important that you install access systems that are user-friendly and durable, and allow work to be carried out effectively and safely.
KOMBI access solutions
Access platforms, stairs, crossovers and elevated walkways offer a comprehensive solution for accessing cooling towers easily. These systems should also allow for simple and speedy installation onsite without the need for hot works or specialist trades and enable assembly to be carried out in difficult to reach or constricted areas.
Ease of installation is particularly relevant in remote locations where it can often be impossible to get exact measurements prior to installation and systems sent to the site may need to be returned as they cannot be modified onsite.
KOMBI’s access platforms, stairs, crossovers, elevated walkways and suspended platforms/ walkways are constructed of lightweight aluminium with their modular design allowing the flexibility of onsite modification to suit the specific requirements. Delivered flat packed to the site, the access equipment can be suitably adjusted using the unique KOMBI patented T-Bolt.
The installers can also refer to KOMBI’s comprehensive and easy-to-follow manual, which gives step-by-step instructions for installation. Since specialist trades and tools are not required for the installation, the client can achieve significant cost savings.
All KOMBI systems are manufactured and designed in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1657:2018.