The importance of training when managing Legionella

In the UK managing Legionella is an important part of complying with COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), L8 ACoP, HSG274 and HTM0401. All of these documents require the Duty Holder and Responsible Person to be able to show competence.

Irrespective of the country of the reader showing competence is important but what does that mean.

COSHH describes this requirement as:

“Anyone who checks the effectiveness of any element of a control measure should have the competence to do so. The degree of theoretical and practical knowledge required will increase with the likelihood of control failure, the seriousness of the consequences, and the complexity of the control measure”.


“The MHSW Regulations also require that, where the employer has an employee with the necessary competence to provide the required assistance, the employer should appoint the employee to do the work in preference to someone who is not in their employment. Wherever practicable, therefore, suitable employees should be encouraged to have appropriate training, and to gain the knowledge and expertise that will give them the competence to help their employers comply with health and safety requirements”.

The ACoP L8 adds:

“The dutyholder should also ensure that all employees involved in work that may expose an employee or other person to legionella are given suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training”.

So competence is composed of “appropriate training”, “knowledge gaining”, “instruction” and “expertise”. Some of this will come with experience but a large part of this will be to receive suitable training and instruction from others.

It is well recognised that inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication are all contributory factors in outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease. Consequently it is important to choose the right training partner to provide you with the right levels of training for all your staff whether that be the Responsible Person, the person carrying out the risk assessment or the person carrying out the control measures.

The training can involve :

  • Water treatment issues such as biocide control,
  • cleaning standards and appropriate methodologies;
  • scale and corrosion inhibition;
  • cooling tower operation;
  • testing standards and methodologies;
  • information on prominent waterborne pathogens and their consequences;
  • the ways in which water distribution systems, water outlets, components and any associated equipment can become contaminated; the responsibilities of individuals to prevent the contamination of the water distribution system and water outlets and assisting in ensuring control measures in place are effective;
  • how the safety of water can be maintained by good hygiene practices;
  • system design;
  • components/accessories (taps, TMVs);
  • disinfection and cleaning equipment/ materials; the impact of getting it wrong; role of persons being trained; personal hygiene along with dealing with clothing, footwear, cleaning equipment/materials, tools and storage when considering water hygiene (as applicable to each role);
  • and a host of organisational specific issues such as policies and processes.

With over 38 years in the field of managing Legionella and water treatment Nigel Richardson, the Managing Director of Collaton Consultancy, is ideally placed to offer this training for all your staff.

Bespoke training, specific to your personal or your company needs is designed and provided by Collaton Consultancy Limited. Our expert witness work means we also understand what the regulatory authorities look for on site bringing that extra edge to the training.

We have recently added to website online training modules that will help you manage your Legionella, along with other subjects, training needs.

Why not discuss your personal needs with Nigel Richardson on +44 (0)7958 124563 or email him on Or you could try out the online video based training and receive your training certificate after the short, highly focused training courses.


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