When not carefully monitored and controlled, Legionella bacteria has the potential to cause illness and even fatality, by causing a kind of atypical pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella bacteria can multiply in a wide variety of environments, and outbreaks are unfortunately not uncommon, causing an estimated 8,000 to 18,000 hospitalisations a year in America alone. There are several ways to help fight against Legionella bacteria, one of which is through regular Legionella training.
Checkout 3 Crucial Reasons Why Regular Legionella Training Is Important:
1. Fulfil your legal duties
While the relevant HSE guidance found in the ACoP L8 does not explicitly state that Legionella training is a legal requirement, it is necessary to demonstrate both an in-depth understanding of the risks involved and competence in dealing with them.
Often this means that in order to develop that understanding, as a responsible person or duty holder, you need to undergo training.
Reaching the appropriate levels of knowledge and understanding without undergoing training is unlikely to be possible, meaning that while training is not explicitly necessary, it is definitely an implicit requirement.
2. Protect your customers
Failure to assess your water system and identify any risks can have direct health consequences. When Legionella bacteria multiply to a certain level and then enter the air as a fine mist, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella can multiply in water storage tanks, boilers, and water pipes, and then enter the air through taps, showers, swimming pools, and air conditioning units. Infection with Legionnaires’ disease can lead to death, and almost always leads to hospitalization.
Ensuring that certain members of your staff undergo regular Legionella training can help to mitigate that risk, helping you to protect any individuals who spend time on your business’s premises.
3. Protect your brand
In addition to the direct health risks that Legionella poses, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease can have catastrophic impacts on your business’s reputation and your brand.
After the first outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was identified in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in 1976, occupancy went down to 4%.
This was a contributing factor to the hotel closing down later that very year, showing how significant the impact on public opinion an outbreak of that kind can have. Regular Legionella training, through helping to avoid such disasters, can help to safeguard your brand.
Who should you undergo Legionella training?
Depending on the size of your business, it’s unlikely that all members of staff should undergo regular Legionella training. There are specific individuals who should, and these include:
- The Duty Holder, who is often also the owner of the business or the site director
- Anyone who is responsible for performing water system checks
- The Legionella Responsible Person (an assigned individual who is responsible for Legionella risks)
- Anyone who works with the water system, whether checking, cleaning, or otherwise disinfecting
It’s imperative that these individuals are kept up to date on their knowledge and training. Regular Legionella training is an important part of this process and is vital for many businesses.
To learn more about this specific type of training, head to dedicated service providers such as the Water Hygiene Centre.