Is Legionella training necessary or just a recommendation?


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Legionella training is required by law


Why do we actually need Legionella training?

In the United Kingdom’s Health & Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice or ACOP L8 clearly stipulates that in order to manage Legionella risk, competence and training is an essential part of keeping Legionella under control. Under several regulations, the ACOP L8 states that these regulations will require employers to take realistic steps to make sure that any control measures are appropriately applied and used. They require employees and workers to make proper use of those control measures. Employers and managers are also required to keep arrangements in place for managing safety and health related issues, to have access to competent safety and health advice and to provide workers with sufficient information, instruction, as well as training.


What kind of training is necessary?

This totally depends on the complexity involved and the actions that are required of the individual concerned. A responsible person and deputy, or the engineering department of a hospital could need a one week course which is an in-depth course accredited with an exam. For those of lesser-complicated systems, a few modules of the above may be sufficient, modules such as risk assessing and logbook courses in controlling Legionella.


Does a training course make you competent?

It adds to your competence, but it does not necessarily make you a competent individual. Competence is the ability, attitude, education, experience and training.


Who needs to receive training?

The United Kingdom’s Health & Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice L8 states the following: Inadequate management, insufficient training and lack of communication are all contributory factors in Legionella outbreaks. Thus, it is very important that the individuals involved in the risk assessment and applying precautions are truly competent, suitably trained and perfectly aware of all their responsibilities.

The duty holder needs to be trained to allow them to make sound decisions on budget allowance as well as on the designation of the responsible individual and deputy and what exactly is required from them.

The responsible individual and their deputy explicitly appointed to implement the control measures needs to be properly informed, sufficiently instructed and trained and their suitability needs to be assessed. They need to be appropriately trained to a level that guarantees tasks are carried out in a safe and competent manner. They also need to receive periodic refresher training.

Legionella training

Those individuals involved in the control scheme and contractors as well as sub-contractors are provided sufficient information, suitable instruction and the required training. This will include information, training and instructions on the substantial findings of the risk assessment and the suitable precautions and actions they need to take in order to safeguard themselves as well as other individuals. This should be reviewed whenever major changes are made to the type of work carried out. Legionella management training is an essential element of a worker’s capability to perform his duties safely, however it is not the only factor: instructions, knowledge, experience and other interpersonal qualities are relevant to perform the task in a safe manner.


What type of certificate will demonstrate proof of adequate training?

A graded certificate proves that a course has been carried out in conjunction with an exam on completion. The certificate needs to display details of the course, its duration as well as an advantage in indicating dates for a refresher training. The details of the course need to be available for audit in case of an incident. Note that an attendance certificate is not proof of training.


In brief

Any individuals involved in Legionella need to be trained to a level applicable to their actions required by the systems they are responsible with.