• Lisamarie Lamb

Is Legionella Training Really Necessary?

Legionella training… is it really necessary? Do employees within a company, sub-contractors, managers, those responsible for water hygiene and legionella control really need to have specific training on legionella bacteria, what it does, how it works, and how to control it? Surely that’s someone else’s job – someone like a legionella control expert, like a water hygiene specialist… Surely that’s not down to the people working within a building, is it?


The truth is, as you might have guessed, it is. Legionella training is a hugely important part of keeping your building, your employees, your sub-contractors, patients, students, the causal passer-by, safe. It’s so important that it is even given it’s own section in ACOP L8 wherein it clearly states that in order to manage the risk of legionella within a building training must be undertaken.



Let’s take things further, to be absolutely sure. Under the COSHH regulations 8 and 12, under the Management Regulations 5,7, and 13, and under the Health and Safety At Work Act sections 2, 3, and 4, we are told that employers are required to ‘take reasonable steps to ensure that any control measures are properly used and applied’. In other words, employers must ensure that employees understand how the control measures (in this case for legionella) work and why they are necessary. The best way to do this, and to show that it is done, is to have training carried out by an expert, and to receive certification that this has been done.


Who Should Be Trained?


So we know that training has to be carried out by law. But exactly who needs that training? To start with, at the very least, those being trained should be the ones with responsibility for ensuring that the risk of legionella is assessed and control measures are put in place. Even if they hire in a third party to carry out the control (which is always a good idea), they are still responsible, and since ignorance is no excuse under the law, it is far better for them to know what it all means and why certain elements need to be in place than not. It also means that they are able to argue their case when it comes to budgets and so on.


There are others who it is useful to train as well. The list, in order of importance, of those who should attend any training session is as follows:

· The duty holder

· The responsible person

· The responsible person’s deputy

· Anyone involved in the legionella control scheme, including sub-contractors

· Employees in general who an employer may want to make more aware of different elements of the business



What Kind Of Training?


The type of training required will depend somewhat on the complexity of the water systems within the building, and the risk of legionella developing. For example, a hospital may require an indepth course that takes a number of days. An office building should be able to have a course tailored to their needs that lasts a day or even half a day if required.


Speaking to a legionella training specialist such as Assured Water Hygiene will give you a much better idea of what is involved and how to ensure your training is going to be right for you. Training can – and should – be tailored to the industry and the needs of those requesting it. This is why ‘off the shelf’ training can be a bad idea; you may receive some pertinent information, but it will be extremely generalised and can be more confusing than enlightening.

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