Paul McDermott has an Honours degree and PhD in microbiology and spent the first 11 years of his career in microbiology research and as a university lecturer. Following this, Paul worked as a Specialist Inspector in the Health and Safety Executive's Biological Agents Unit. In his role as a regulator, much of Paul’s time was spent working in the field of occupational Legionella risk control where he developed a deep understanding of the regulatory framework and an appreciation of the practicalities of effective risk management.
Paul acted as Expert Witness in a number of Legionella enforcement cases and since leaving HSE, has continued to provide Expert Witness services to HSE, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Care Quality Commission, local authorities and private legal companies.
During his career he has contributed to the production of numerous Legionella-related guidance documents, including:
- BS 8580 (2010) – Water quality. Risk assessments for Legionella control. Code of practice (and BS 8580-1, 2019)
- BS 8680:2020 – Water quality. Water safety plans. Code of practice
- BS 8580-2: 2022 – Water quality. Risk assessments for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other waterborne pathogens. Code of practice
- BS 7592: 2022 – Sampling for Legionella bacteria in water systems. Code of practice
- TM13 – Minimising the Risk of Legionnaires' disease
- HSE’s revised Approved Code of Practice, L8 (4th edition) – Legionnaires' disease: the control of legionella bacteria in water systems
- HSE's revised guidance document, HSG274 – Legionnaires' disease: technical guidance.
Paul is also a Technical Assessor for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, conducting assessments of companies seeking UKAS accreditation for Legionella risk assessment services and is an assessor for the Legionella Control Association (LCA), conducting company audits for LCA’s registrants.
Since setting up his biorisk consultancy in July 2014, Paul has undertaken a variety of work including the role of Authorising Engineer (Water) at a number of NHS Trusts and is currently supporting water risk management arrangements at a number of other Trusts, as well as large academic institutions and industrial companies. Paul also continues his work as expert witness in health and safety cases. Most recently, he was expert witness for the prosecution in the JTF (Wholesale) Ltd case in July 2017, BUPA Care Homes in June 2018 and Alliance Care (Dales Homes) Ltd in November 2018. In December 2020, Paul was expert witness in the first ever prosecution taken by CQC for failures to control risks from Legionella, against Sentinel Health Care Ltd.
Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management, a member of the Water Management Society, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers and a Freeman of the City of London.