Legionella training is a legal requirement for anyone with a responsibility for the prevention and control of legionella within the workplace.
Section 50 of the HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8, ‘Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems’, states that:
“Inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication are all contributory factors in outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease. It is therefore important that the people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities.”
In addition to this, ACOP L8 also highlights the requirements within the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)’ regulations 8 and 12: “Every employer who undertakes work which is liable to expose an employee to a substance hazardous to health shall provide that employee with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training.”
Furthermore, ‘The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999’ regulations 5, 7, 10 and 13 states:
“Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures. […]
Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.”
Finally, ‘The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA)’ sections 2, 3 and 4:
“[…] require employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
These regulations all provide the legal framework that require employers to ensure that their employees are able to make full and proper use of those control measures.
Employers are required to have arrangements in place for the management of health and safety, to have access to competent health and safety advice and to provide employees with suitable and sufficient information, instruction, and training.
Employers are required to have appropriately trained staff directly involved in the management and control of the risks presented by Legionella bacteria and legionella awareness training helps to reduce the risk of people contracting legionnaires’ disease by improving awareness amongst all staff. This is particularly true in relation to maintenance staff, cleaners, security and department heads as all of these will have some level of interaction with the personnel responsible for controlling the risk.
In effect, everyone within an organisation should attend some legionella awareness training if there are water systems in the workplace.
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Editor’s Note: The information provided in this blog is correct at date of original publication – January 2021.
© Water Hygiene Centre 2021