Legionella awareness training is required regularly to keep your control measures up to date.
In some cases, like changes to the water systems or an outbreak of legionnaires disease, you may need to update your training right away.
Training itself is a legal requirement, as employers must take appropriate steps to safeguard their employee’s health and safety. However, in the legislation, there is no legal requirement to refresh or renew training courses every certain number of years. As a result, there is a lot of room for the responsible person in an organisation to decide themselves. This is helpful in the sense that organisations have some flexibility.
We recommend renewing your training every two years. This is because technology improves and there may be more efficient ways of implementing control measures. One of the most common causes of legionnaires disease is a lack of effective staff management and training. This is a life-threatening condition. Renewing your training makes sure that your control measures stay up to date and your employees are protected.
Who Needs Training?
In effect, everyone in your organisation should attend some sort of legionella awareness training if there are water systems in the daily workplace. This is only awareness training, which spreads knowledge of the issues and risks of legionella.
According to the legionella regulations, training should be held by a person who is “competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities”. Normally, in an organisation, this is known as a ‘responsible person’ who has training and specialist knowledge. If you are self-employed and feel you are competent, you can appoint yourself.
However, you cannot gain competence based on a certificate of training by itself. Competence is your overall knowledge and understanding of the issues at hand, and just because you completed a training course doesn’t mean you are competent. As the legionella L8 guidelines state, “training is an essential element… but it is not the only factor”.
Of course, different workers may need different levels of training. Awareness training is appropriate for most employees as it sets a base level of understanding. However, if you help to maintain water systems themselves, then you will need more training. Organisations need to be flexible, so “new starters who will have a level of responsibility regarding legionella prevention… should have training upon starting”.
What Training will Cover
On the basic level, legionella courses will cover all the things you need to make sure your organisation is compliant with the laws.
The legionella regulations or rules that apply to legionella-related topics include:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Generally, these laws make sure that organisations take reasonable steps to reduce, mitigate and prevent legionella risks and injuries. This involves doing a risk assessment, in order to identify workplace threats to health. Afterwards, training will promote the best and most up to date control measures to prevent a disease outbreak.
Furthermore, training should spread awareness of how legionella grows and spreads in water systems. It will explain the water temperatures that the bacteria thrive in, and how to kill them off.
Overall, legionella can lead to life-threatening diseases, and isn’t something to mess around with. So, you need to make sure your organisation is properly geared-up.
To equip your employees with the necessary skills, you can view our own legionella eLearning courses. As approved by CPD and RoSPA, our courses will prepare your employees to make smart decisions to protect the health and safety of themselves, and those around them.