Who can carry out the Legionella Risk Assessment – Key Focus: Legionella Responsible Person?

Who is the legionella responsible person?

The responsible person for the Control of Legionella Bacteria is a competent individual that is appointed by the duty holder to take day to day responsibility for their organisation’s building. They are to ensure compliance and most importantly, the safety of the users from harmful bacteria such as legionella.

Legionella bacteria is potentially harmful to life as it can lead to a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires disease. It grows in favourable conditions in hot and cold water systems including cooling towers, spa baths and showers. Particular groups of people such as the over 65’s, smokers and people with reduced immune systems are at risk from this lung infection.

As a result, it is a requirement under the Health & Safety Executives Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8, for organisations to appoint a Responsible Person who will have the day to day responsibility to mitigate risk from legionella bacteria.

Legionella responsible person communicates all information about water systems including the risk of legionella

Is there a Difference between the Duty Holder and The Responsible Person?

Mixing up the Duty Holder and the Responsible Person or using their titles interchangeably is a common mistake made by many organisations. Believe it or not, these roles are normally carried out by different people.

The Duty Holder, also known as the Statutory Duty Holder, is the owner or Managing Director of the company, has the overall responsibility for the building and water systems and is accountable for the safety of employees and users by Law. The Duty Holder is the only one that is able to appoint a Responsible person. On the other hand, the Responsible Person is appointed by the duty holder and must be accountable to the Duty Holder for the upkeep of the water system on a day to day basis. They report directly to the Duty Holder but must have sufficient authority, competence and knowledge, in addition to holding a significant position in the organisation to be able to effectively fulfil their role and responsibilities. They can also be referred to as the “Competent Person”.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Responsible Person

  • The responsible person must fully understand the ACOP L8, HSG274, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
  • Have a though understanding of the sources of risk to Water Systems
  • Ensure a risk assessment of the building/s is carried out by a competent person and implement the control measures and maintenance regime detailed within the Risk Assessment report
  • Ensure that maintenance records are kept and recommended actions carried out
  • Monitor and regularly review the effectiveness of the maintenance regime and control measures
  • Ensure all persons involved with the Control of Legionella within the company are appropriately trained and competent
  • The responsible person needs to have adequate knowledge of water systems to be able to make decisions. The Duty Holder and the Responsible Person can seek assistance for further training if they do not think that they have the required knowledge and experience needed to carry out their roles. IWS Water Hygiene can assist with all training requirements, including Legionella Awareness Training modules available online, at our training centre or through site visits from our account managers. We cater for a variety of needs including novices and those who need a refresher.

The Health and Safety regulations call for an effective legionella Control Process which includes scheme of controls, record keeping and a responsible person. This role is key in managing legionella risk for your organisation.

If you need more information on this subject or any other related topics, please contact us on 0345 600 6028, email us at WHSales@integrated-water.co.uk or visit our web site at www.integrated-water.co.uk



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