Legionella Awareness Training Services: What To Expect

Legionella control and prevention is at the forefront of our services, so naturally we have a lot of knowledge we can pass on. A natural extension to what we offer is some structured advice and information through our Legionella Awareness and Control training programme.

This scheme is based around ACOP L8 compliance and has five main elements, and here we give you a brief overview of each section as a basic introduction to what the training involves:

1. Understanding what Legionella is

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the legionella bacteria, and is effectively a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. We are all susceptible to the risk of legionella but that risk is significantly increased if you are:

  • Over 45 years of age
  • A smoker or heavy drinker
  • Have respiratory problems or kidney disease
  • Have diabetes, lung or heart disease

2. Where can legionella form?

The legionella bacteria is common in natural water bodies such as rivers and ponds, but numbers are low in such environments. The bacteria grows to more dangerous levels in industrial, commercial and domestic water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold showers, spa pools and other water systems.

3. What can you do to prevent it?

Control measures can prevent the growth of the legionella bacteria, this will grow most rapidly in conditions that are favourable to it, so ideally you should prevent these conditions forming. For example, you could control the temperature of your water systems. The bacteria flourishes in systems where the water is between 20-45?C, any lower than 20?C and it is too cold for the bacteria to grow, and anything above 60?C and the bacteria gets killed off. Contraction of legionella is mostly through the inhalation of droplets into the respiratory system, so preventing droplets being dispersed is also key, this can be achieved by guarding or sheeting off some water systems where spray might be likely. You can also prevent growth of the bacteria by not having the same water continually re-circulated in a system, cleaning pipework and especially cleaning water outlets. Any rust, sludge or scale in pool jets or shower heads etc acts as a nutrient for the organism to grow. The easiest prevention method, however, is the use of biocides as an agent that kills off any bacteria that grows, usually through a metered addition to the water system. This is often carried out by a third party contractor who manages the entire water treatment system for you.

4. Roles and responsibilities

As an employer, a landlord or a person responsible for public premises, you have a duty to identify your areas of risk, carry out risk assessments, regulate materials and suppliers and appoint third party contractors to manage your systems. You should also appoint a competent person on site to manage your water systems, carry out risk assessments and monitoring and liaise with any third party contractors.

5. The ACOP L8 Compliance

This is a document issued in 2013 entitled ‘Legionnaires’ disease: the control of legionella bacteria in water systems’. The document is key to the wider knowledge of how to tackle and prevent the growth of legionella, and is aimed at duty holders to help them comply with their legal duties. The document shows you:

  • How to carry out risk assessments
  • How to prevent and control risk
  • What control measures you should have in place
  • What record keeping you should undertake
  • How to appoint responsible people

For more information on our legionella training services or a legionella risk assessment, please click here to get in touch today.