Why Do We 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.

As a result, they expect those people involved in assessing legionella risks, and involved in 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?

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

However, in practise you must be aware of, and be able to prove your understanding of your legal responsibilities. You must be able to demonstrate that you have the appropriate level of knowledge, and be competent to do the job required of you.

It is nearly impossible to be able to show this without having training to ensure you reach those levels. The need for regular refresher training is also mentioned in the ACoP L8 guidance issued by the HSE.

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 to ensure there is not a significant risk of legionella bacteria multiplying in the property’s water system – however – that person MUST STILL be able to show understanding and competence.

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 and legionella bacteria proliferation in the workplace. In their Approved Code of Practice ACoP L8 (2013), “Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems” they 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″.

Whether you are a technician, manager, duty holder or you have been appointed the Legionella Responsible Person, it is imperative that you complete the required training for your role and responsibilities.

Not sure which course you need to complete – please use our FREE self-assessment tool below to find out which legionella course you require based on a few simple questions.

How The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Views Legionella Training And Competence

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides plenty of advice to anyone who has a 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.

Download the latest edition of the HSE’s ACOP L8 here for free

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.

This means that 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 will need to convince the Court that you complied with the law in some other 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 duties in dealing with legionella. It is much more likely that you, the responsible person, or the duty holder, or anyone else involved, may assume they are doing enough to meet legal responsibilities in this area, when in reality you are not.

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 – 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 properly.

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

Many of the above roles often have ‘deputy’ positions, typically due to site size and complexity, or simply for holiday/ill-health cover. These persons also need the same standard of training.

What Does The Health & Safety Executive Mean By “Competence” ?

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

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “competence” means “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, 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 in turn 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 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

If you are 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.

Legionella Awareness Training

Our legionella awareness training courses are both City & Guilds and IOSH accredited. They are ideal for those who require an introduction to Legionnaires’ disease and the control of legionella in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive’s ACoP L8 and Technical Guidance HSG 274.

Typically, those who attend and require this legionella course are those who are not responsible for enforcing the legionella risk assessment. It is more likely that they require the basic training needed to enact the legionella risk assessment requirements – i.e. conduct basic routine monitoring tasks

Our legionella awareness training covers hot and cold water systems, cooling systems (including cooling towers) and other risk systems

Legionella Responsible Person Training

Our legionella responsible person training courses are both City & Guilds and IOSH accredited. They are designed specifically for those who have been appointed (or are defaulted to be) the “Legionella Responsible Person”, “Deputy Legionella Responsible Person”, or “Legionella Duty Holder” in accordance with the HSE’s ACoP L8.

Typically, those who attend and require this legionella course are those who hold day-to-day responsibility for the management and control of Legionnaires’ disease and legionella risks.

We have courses that cover just hot and cold water systems, and also those that cover hot and cold water systems, cooling systems (including cooling towers) and other risk systems.

Customised And Site-Based Delivery

If you are unable to find a course that meets your exact requirements then please contact us to discuss options.

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 that can attest to this.

Want us to come to you? No problem, please contact us to discuss our market-beating rates.

‘Learn Anywhere’ Remote Training

We have worked closely with the City & Guilds to develop and offer a unique approach to remote training.

For something as critical as legionella risk management, traditional online training simply doesn’t suffice.

Every site and water system is different, and you simply need to be able to talk to an expert during your training to ensure you leave with the competence you require.

So, we have 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 fashion as the classroom equivalent, except that the training is based in a different physical location. Think ‘Skype’ for training, but much more interactive and engaging.

You take part in the training, engage in discussion and ask questions as you would normally, and even sit your assessment at the end of the course – all remotely.

This range of courses is cheaper, has a much wider choice of dates and times than the classroom equivalent, and actually takes less time due to the typically smaller ‘class’ sizes.

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