Why You Need Legionella Training?

Legionella training is an essential and mandatory component of any legionella risk management programme. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) specifically highlights lack of training, inadequate management and poor communication as contributory factors in outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.
They expect those involved in assessing legionella risks and control measures to be competent, suitably trained and fully aware of their legal responsibilities. This training should also be up-to-date and refreshed on a regular basis.

Is It A Legal Requirement To Have Legionella Training? (HSE)

You are not legally required to go through training to perform your duties as a duty holder or a responsible person, or if you are involved in any work that may expose individuals to legionella bacteria.

However, in practice, you must be aware and be able to prove an understanding of your legal responsibilities. In addition, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have the appropriate level of  knowledge to be competent to do the job required. It is nearly impossible to be able to show this without having training to ensure you reach those levels.

In some instances, the risk of legionella may be so small that training may not be necessarily required. For example, a landlord with a residential property may need to do no more than a basic risk assessment. This would ensure there is not a significant risk of legionella bacteria multiplying in the property’s water system. However, that person MUST be able to show understanding and competence.

The need for regular refresher training is also mentioned in the ACoP L8 guidance issued by the HSE.

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Legionella Training, Legionella Management Responsibilities and Competence

Training and ‘competence’ are seen by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as core to the successful control of Legionnaires’ disease. In their Approved Code of Practice ACoP L8 (2013), Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems HSE state that:

“Those specifically appointed to implement the control measures and strategies should be suitably informed, instructed and trained and their suitability assessed. They must be properly trained to a level that ensures tasks are carried out in a safe, technically competent manner; and receive regular refresher training.”

– Paragraph 51. Health & Safety Executive Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8

Are you a technician, manager, duty holder or have you been appointed as the Legionella Responsible Person? If this is the case, it is imperative that you complete the required training for your role and responsibilities.

How The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) View Legionella Training and Competence

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides plenty of advice for anyone who has the responsibility to ensure legionella risk is appropriately controlled. The Approved Code of Practice ACoP L8 (2013) Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems is one of the core reference documents.

Though you don’t legally need to follow the guidance given in the ACoP L8, you should be aware that it does have a special legal status. This is very similar to that of the Highway Code in regards driving.

If you are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law regarding legionella control and it is shown that you did not follow the ACoP, you’ll need to convince the Court that you complied with the law in another way.

This applies equally to legionella training. Though it is not necessary to have legionella training, without it, it is far more likely that you would neglect some of your legionella duties. It is much more likely that you, the responsible person, the duty holder or anyone else involved may assume wrong. You may feel you are doing enough to meet legal responsibilities in this area, when unfortunately, you are not. This puts yourself and others at risk.

Who Really Needs Legionella Training?

Anyone who:

  • Is involved in conducting legionella risk assessments
  • Must perform regular checks on water systems
  • Conducts cleans, disinfections or otherwise treats water systems
  • Is responsible for legionella risk (the Legionella Responsible Person)
  • Is the Duty Holder, which is frequently the business owner/site director

These persons and any others deemed necessary, should have regular training and refresher courses to help them perform their jobs adequately.

Without this training, there is a much higher risk of things going wrong.

What Does the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Mean by ‘Competence’?

Competence is a key word that comes up very often when you read about Legionnaires’ disease and your duties in keeping it under control.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of ‘competence’ is, “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”

For a person to be competent in their duties, they must have a good understanding of their legal responsibilities, as well as knowledge of Legionnaires’ disease, legionella bacteria and how it may multiply in certain circumstances. They should also be aware of how such multiplication can be prevented by taking appropriate actions to identify and control the risks.

If a person does not have the correct level of experience and competence, there is a far greater chance they will not perform their duties to the required standards. This may mean legionella bacteria is allowed to multiply within a water system, creating an increased risk of people being affected by the bacteria.

Competence can only be confirmed if a person undertakes and completes an appropriate, recognised course of legionella training.

Can Awareness Training Really Help You to Reduce Legionella Risk?

Yes – 100% 

Previous outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have identified several areas where failures often occur:

  • Poor communication between those responsible for managing risk
  • A lack of clarity as to who is responsible for what
  • Failure to implement any advice and recommendations given in the legionella risk assessment
  • Neglecting to perform risk assessments when required
  • Poor training and management

Are you an employer, business owner, landlord or have health and safety responsibilities for other people, including members of the public? Then you have legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).

Even if you appoint others to handle risk assessments or to conduct the required routine monitoring works, you are still responsible for making sure they are adequately and appropriately trained.

About Our Legionella Training Courses

LIVE Virtual Classroom

We have worked closely with City & Guilds to develop a unique approach to remote training. For something as critical as legionella risk management, traditional online training does not suffice for all legionella responsibilities. It is important to be able to talk to an expert during your training to ensure you leave with the competence you require.

As a result, HX Training has developed a live and interactive remote-training platform that allows candidates to learn at a pace, time and location convenient to them. The training is conducted in exactly the same format as the classroom equivalent.

During the course, you can take part in the training by engaging in discussion and asking questions, as you would normally.

This range of courses are cheaper. In addition, virtual classrooms have a wider choice of dates and times than the classroom equivalent. Foremost, the courses actually take less time, so for those struggling to fit training into their usual business routine, this way of learning is perfect for them.

And you still get the same City & Guilds Accredited Programme certificate at the end.

On-site Training and Open Courses

If you are unable to find a course that meets your exact requirements then please contact us to discuss options. Want us to come to you? No problem, please contact us to discuss our market-beating rates.

We pride ourselves on being able to deliver the right training, in the right way for your requirements. We have a strong portfolio of business and organisations, large and small, which can support this through delegate feedback.