BrodexTrident Blog

Who should have legionella training?

who should have legionella training

When it comes to just who – or rather, what quantifiable number of individuals - would benefit most from legionella training the old adage of less being more certainly doesn’t apply. On the contrary. The more individuals equipped with an understanding of how the largely unseen disease takes root - and can, given the right conditions, spread through a workplace - is key. Key to best case scenario, prevention; worst case scenario, combatting the threat when it materialises. It’s been proven on countless occasions that a shortfall in rudimentary knowledge, lack of training and leadership, compromised communication and essentially, inadequate management all habitually contribute to what otherwise might be avoidable outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease.

(Recommended Reading: Discover surprising sources of legionella)

Businesses can’t escape the imperative fact that certain people need to be tasked with assessing the risk posed by the potential presence of the bacteria found within numerous work environments. Nor can they afford to overlook the unseen dangers lurking. Critically, it’s in an employer – or organisation’s – best interests (together with employees and third parties, of course) that those individuals made responsible are competent in applying the necessary precautions, performing the correct protocol and procedure and above all else appropriately trained to be both proactive and reactive to the manifestation of legionella in various real time contexts. Anything short of this will result in a failing on the part of the business and leave both employees and third parties (visitors to company premises, as well as sub-contractors for example) possibly exposed to the onset of Legionnaire’s Disease.

(What are the risks associated with legionella? Find out here)

In terms of just who should be entrusted with the responsibility within workplaces, then that is a matter for the business itself to determine from the outset. And to be advised by the relevant authorities on the subject. That being said, although it’s important to seek external direction and pointers from sources and professional bodies (such as The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), together which specialised water treatment companies such as ourselves), it’s vital that the risk of legionella is predominantly tackled from within. Ergo, a dedicated ‘duty holder’ should be identified and charged with this particular role as part of their specific employee remit. A remit which ensures the post holder possesses the pre-requisitional skillset to make sound decisions on both the designation of an individual (and deputy) to carry out the practice and protocol and oversee budget allowances at the same time.

(Recommended Reading: How do legionella regulations define a duty holder?)

Receiving the Right Legionella Training Can Make All the Difference in Ensuring Workplaces Remain Legionnaire’s Disease-free

With direct reference to the recognised ‘responsible person’ (and deputy), these individuals should be put in place to assert their authority in relation to company procedure (re: legionella control measures and strategy implementation) and to ultimately provide a mechanism by which safeguards are systematically adhered to and subsequent actions taken. They should – by their very job definition – be comprehensively trained in legionella control and risk management, to acknowledged levels whereby tasks are undertaken in a safe, technically-compliant manner, while refresher courses should also be regularly attended. Indeed, anyone closely involved in the broader awareness and controlling of legionella in the workplace (including contractors and subcontractors) should be in receipt of the relevant information, instruction and schooling from the get-go, with timely reviews orchestrated; especially so if and when work methodology or hitherto procedure is altered at any given juncture.

Elsewhere, and similar degrees of responsibility for legionella control lies with contractors and sub-contractors, and notably any third party integral to delivering a service to a business. Typically we’re talking about those who provide remedial work who by the very nature of their professions bring them into contact with stored water supplies (and therein the potential carrier of legionella), such as plumbers. Therefore it’s hugely important that anyone recruited to either repair or service water systems are suitably au fait with legionella and its associated threat; ordinarily by way of having undertaken a basic course. To this end, HSE Guidance ACOP L8 ‘The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems’ refers explicitly to the duty of individuals who design, manufactures, imports or supplies articles or substances for use at work to be wholly compliant in such dealings.

While any individual with an employer’s directive to control legionella needs to be fully briefed as to the actions required of them with regards to the systems they’re responsible for, on the topic of identifying other persons who may interact with water systems, the general rule of thumb states that anyone who monitors, flushes, fits or performs maintenance tasks per se need to be well versed in legionella management protocol and practice. Highlighting professions and industries who should be receiving legionella training, and primarily it’s those employed in the building management, design and maintenance sectors, along with facilities managers, school premises managers, commercial property landlords, hoteliers and hotel maintenance staff, catering employees and residential accommodation providers. Meanwhile those whose vocational responsibilities extend to the system design or disinfection of domestic, small commercial properties and spa pools also would figure prominently is such a compilation. Ostensibly, anyone who manages, supervises or carries out routine maintenance tasks which ensure safe storage and usage of water systems, as well as ensuring correct recording of all tasks undertaken should sign up to legionella training.

Unsure of your legionella compliance requirements? Check out our FREE legionella compliance checklist.

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