We here are Legionella Compliance Consultancy Ltd are committed to helping reduce the associated risk factors with our customers wherever possible. However where control measures are required, whether you complete these yourself, using directly employed staff, or by appointing a sub-contractor, the question of “How do you prove that the person carrying out the works is competent to do so?” comes up.

From the Approved Code of Practice, 4th edition, 2013 (more commonly referred to as ACoP L8: 2013) the following extract has been taken directly: -

48 If the assessment shows that there is a reasonably foreseeable risk and it is reasonably practicable to prevent exposure or control the risk from exposure, the dutyholder under paragraph 28 should appoint a competent person or persons to help undertake the measures needed to comply with the requirements in COSHH. The appointed competent person or persons should have sufficient authority, competence and knowledge of the installation to ensure that all operational procedures are carried out in a timely and effective manner. Where the dutyholder does not employ anyone with the necessary competence, they may need to appoint people from outside the organisation. In such circumstances, the dutyholder should take all reasonable steps to ensure the competence of those carrying out work who are not under their direct control and that responsibilities and lines of communication are properly established and clearly laid down.

49 Those appointed under paragraph 48 to carry out the risk assessment and draw up and implement precautionary measures should have such ability, experience, instruction, information, training and resources to enable them to carry out their tasks competently and safely. In particular, they should know the:
(a) potential sources of legionella bacteria and the risks they present;
(b) measures to adopt, including the precautions to take to protect the people concerned, and their significance;
(c) measures to take to ensure that the control measures remain effective, and their significance.

52 The dutyholder should also ensure that all employees involved in work that may expose an employee or other person to legionella are given suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training. This includes information, instruction and training on the significant findings of the risk assessment and the appropriate precautions and actions they need to take to safeguard themselves and others. This should be reviewed and updated whenever significant changes are made to the type of work carried out or methods used. Training is an essential element of an employee’s capability to carry out work safely, but it is not the only factor: instructions, experience, knowledge and other personal qualities are also relevant to perform a task safely.

As you can see these sections place emphasis upon the building owner (dutyholder) or their appointed representative if a company owns the building, to ensure that the works are being carried out correctly. By appointing a sub-contractor or member of staff and doing nothing else you have not absolved yourself of the responsibility.

How confident are you that you can comply with these sections if an HSE inspector was to knock on your door today?

We would be happy to discuss with you how we can help put your mind at ease and have this evidence before you are asked to prove it because of an outbreak or suspected outbreak associated with your site(s).