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  • Lisamarie Lamb

What About Legionella Awareness Training?

Employers in the United Kingdom are required by law to provide safe working conditions for their workers. This legal obligation includes legionella awareness training. However, there is no need under current regulations to update legionella training on a regular basis. While this gives organisations more freedom, many companies and managers are confused about how often they should update their employees' legionella training.

Water-borne infections caused by the legionella bacteria are a prevalent hazard. As a result, it is critical that you understand what you must do to safeguard your employees and the general public.

In this post, we'll look at the legionella hazards, how training to understand legionella will help you avoid these risks, and how often you should renew your legionella training.

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

What You Need To Know About Legionella

Legionella bacteria (legionella pneumophila) can be found in natural water sources such as ponds, rivers, and reservoirs. Legionella bacteria are prevalent in tiny concentrations in nature and pose no hazard to human health. Under the correct conditions, however, greater outbreaks of legionella bacteria may emerge in man-made water systems.

Legionella bacteria are transferred to people by the inhalation of moisture droplets in the air. When legionella bacteria are consumed, they can cause a variety of ailments known as legionellosis. Pontiac fever, lochgoilhead fever, and the potentially fatal legionnaires' disease are among these disorders.

Where Do Legionella Outbreaks Occur?

Legionella bacteria can grow in water held at temperatures ranging from 20 to 45°C. Legionella requires nutrients to live, which are provided by sludge, scale, rust, and organic matter buildups. A legionella epidemic might occur in any structure that recirculates water or has water storage capabilities.

Legionella outbreaks are common in hospitals, medical institutions, elderly homes, gyms, and businesses. It is quite uncommon for a significant legionella epidemic to develop in a private house.

The following are the most prevalent locations where legionella bacteria may be found:

  • Plumbing systems

  • Air conditioning units

  • Showerheads and taps

  • Spa baths, saunas, and hot tubs

  • Swimming pools

  • Humidifiers

  • Water features

  • Fountains

  • Hot water heaters

  • Medical equipment

  • Ice machines

The Dangers Of Legionella To Your Health

Legionnaires' disease is the most serious health risk caused by legionella bacterium epidemics. According to Public Health England studies, legionnaires' disease is a severe type of pneumonia that kills 7-12 percent of persons affected. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, up to 250 cases of legionnaires' disease are verified each year in England and Wales (HSE).

According to the HSE, instances of legionnaires' disease are often under-reported. As a result, the true number of cases of legionnaires' disease in the UK is likely to be significantly greater than the official data indicate.

While pontiac fever and Lochgilphead fever generally recover on their own, legionnaires' disease usually needs hospitalisation and specialised treatment. Legionnaires' disease may cause respiratory failure, renal failure, septic shock, and brain damage.

Who Can Catch Legionnaires' Disease?

Legionnaires' disease can affect persons of different ages and levels of fitness. However, if you are a man over 45, a habitual drinker or smoker, or a drug user, you are in the high-risk group. People with weakened immune systems, as well as those suffering from renal or respiratory diseases, are more vulnerable to legionnaires' disease.

What Is Legionella Awareness Training?

This form of training gives participants a better awareness of the threats posed by legionella bacteria and how to prevent them. Trainees will study what legionella is, how it spreads, how to recognise legionellosis signs, and how to prevent legionella outbreaks.

The necessary UK health and safety laws are also addressed, ensuring that organisations remain compliant. Outlines for legionella awareness training:

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002

  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

Who Requires Legionella Awareness Training?

A person in charge of a property is referred to as a 'duty holder' under UK health and safety regulation. This individual might be a landlord, an employer, or a manager. Duty holders are required to designate a 'responsible person' to manage the safety of any water sources. The accountable party might be the duty holder, an employee, or a third party.

Only the responsible person is legally obligated to get legionella awareness training. However, the more employees who are aware of the risks of legionella, the higher your chances of averting an epidemic.

For more information on legionella awareness training, please don't hesitate to contact us; Assured Water are experts in helping people understand their legionella awareness obligations.

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