Londoners who are in charge of managing different types of premises, such as large buildings, offices, establishments like hotels or accommodations, schools and other types of large premises where people gather, should consider receiving proper training when it comes to water treatment and especially Legionella prevention. Legionella training is mandatory component of a Legionella risk management programme. The HSE or Health & Safety Executive explicitly highlights lack of training, poor management and insuficient communication as contributory factors in Legionella outbreaks.

They expect those individuals involved in assessing Legionella risks and hazards, and involved in control measures to be suitably trained, competent and fully aware of all their responsibilities.

This training needs to be up-to-date and also refreshed on a regular basis.

What exactly does the HSE or Health & Safety Executive mean by “competence”?

Competence is a word that comes up frequently when you read about Legionella, Legionnaires’ disease and your duties in lowering risks and keeping it under control.

If we look at the Oxford Dictionary, “competence” is defined as “the ability to do something efficiently or successfully”.

For individuals to be competent in their assigned duties, they require a proper understanding of their legal responsibilities. They will also require knowledge about Legionella bacteria, Legionnaires’ disease and how this bacterium can multiply in certain circumstances. These individuals should also be aware of how such multiplication may be prevented by taking adequate actions to identify and control those risks.

If an individual does not have the appropriate level of competence or experience, there is a far greater chance that they will not be able to perform their duties to the required standards.


This, as a result, may mean Legionella is allowed to multiply within a water system, creating an augmented risk of other individuals being affected by the outbreak of the bacteria.

Competence can only be confirmed if an individual undertakes and completes an appropriate, thorough and recognised course of Legionella training.

Is it a requirement to undertake a Legionella training course?

Individuals are not legally required to undertake the training course in order to perform their duties as a duty holder or a responsible individual.

That said, in practice you need to be aware of, and be capable to prove your understanding of all your legal responsibilities. You need to be able to prove that you have the adequate level of knowledge, and be fully competent to do the job in question.

It is practically impossible to be able to demonstrate this without going through a thorough training course to ensure you reach those levels.

In some cases, the risk of a Legionella outbreak may be so insignificant that a training course may not be required. For instance, a property owner with a residential property might need to do no more than just a basic risk assessment. This would guarantee there is not a substantial risk of Legionella bacteria multiplying in the water system of the property. That said, this landlord or property owner still needs to be able to show competence and understanding.

So who needs Legionella training?

Anyone who:

• Is responsible for Legionella risk management
• Is the Duty Holder – usually the business owner/director
• Is running Legionella risk assessments
• Needs to perform regular checks on water supplies or water systems
• Conducts cleans or disinfections, or treats water systems


These individuals, and any others deemed necessary, need to have regular training as well as refresher courses to help them perform their tasks appropriately.

Without such training, there is a higher risk of things going wrong.