Duty Holders & Responsible People

What is the role of the Duty Holder & the Responsible Person for legionella control?

All businesses in the UK must be aware of the risk of legionella to their employees and take appropriate action to mitigate these risks.

The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8, 4th Edition (ACOP L8) and guidance document HSG274 provide guidance for Duty Holders on how to meet their legal obligations in relation to legionella.

What is a Duty Holder?

A Duty Holder is an employer (where the risk is to employees), a self-employed person (where the risk is to themselves or others) or a person in control of premises or systems in connection with work (where the risk is from the systems in the building, including landlords).

ACOP L8 is not legislation, but it does hold special legal status. In the event of a prosecution for a breach of health and safety law, you will have to provide evidence to show that you have complied with your legal duties or the Court could find you at fault.

If Duty Holders follow guidance provided by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) then they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

One of the main duties of the Duty Holder is to appoint a Responsible Person for legionella control.

What is a Responsible Person for legionella control?

Reporting to the Duty Holder, the main purpose of the Responsible Person’s role is to make sure the water management strategy is successfully carried out and the risks associated with legionella and Legionnaires’ disease are identified and effectively controlled.

Who can be a Responsible Person?

Anyone can be the Responsible Person, as long as they have the right knowledge and skills.

If the Duty Holder is a specialist in legionella control they can appoint themselves. Normally this is not the case and the Duty Holder will appoint someone else in the organisation. There is also the option of using a third party to undertake the role.

The Responsible Person must:

  • Have authority, competence, and sufficient knowledge of the installation to ensure that all agreed procedures are effectively carried out.
  • Be able to perform tasks in a safe and technically competent manner.
  • Be suitably informed, instructed, trained and assessed.

Responsible Person training

The Duty Holder must ensure that the Responsible Person for legionella control has the appropriate information and instructions to carry out their role effectively. Training and assessment are a critical part of ensuring that the Responsible Person is working safety and effectively to mitigate the risk of legionella.

Responsible Persons training provided by GMS will help candidates understand the scope of their role, including how to comply with the law and take the appropriate actions to safeguard themselves and others.

Training should be reviewed and updated in the event of any changes to the system or water treatment programme. It is also advisable to refresh Responsible Persons training on a periodic basis, for example, every three years.

What does a Responsible Person do?

The main duties of a Responsible Person for legionella control include:

  • Carrying out operational procedures
  • Implementation of control measures and strategies.
  • This usually includes arranging risk assessments and overseeing the ongoing PPM works that are required to keep the water systems operating safely.
  • Understanding the potential sources of legionella bacteria and the risk they present
  • Taking action to ensure that the control measures remain effective.
  • Implementation of a robust procedure for handling faults (non-conformities), and rectifying shortfalls in management procedures.

Legionella Risk Assessment

The Responsible Person may be tasked with identifying and assessing the risk of legionella.

A comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessment is the best starting point for any legionella control programme. It should be prepared in accordance with ACOP L8 and the British Standards by a competent, trained and qualified risk assessor and reviewed on a regular basis.

ACOP L8 suggests the procuring the use of a Legionella Control Association Member (LCA) company, such as GMS, to carry out your legionella risk assessment.

Our trained legionella risk assessors will carry out this important task with minimal disruption to your site. Water systems will not be disturbed during the risk assessment unless this has been agreed in advance.

Give us a call on 01257 424459 to see how we can help train or supply a Responsible Person. Alternatively, you can email info@gmsservicesltd.co.uk or use our contact form.

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