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What Does a Responsible Person Do to Help Control Legionella?

25 August 2022


Legionella bacteria never take time off, which means that you have to remain vigilant all year round in order to prevent legionellosis in the people using your premises.

Fail to keep on top of it, and it can become a serious problem.

The solution? Designate a legionella responsible person!

In this article, we’ll run through everything you need to know about choosing your responsible person, and what they should be doing on a day-to-day basis in order to keep your people safe. 

What are employer’s legionella responsibilities?

As an employer (the owner of the business, or managing director, specifically), you are considered the “duty holder”. This shouldn’t be confused with the responsible person, as these roles are usually carried out by different people (we’ll go into more detail on this a little further down). 

It’s the duty holder’s responsibility to nominate who they think will best manage the risk of Legionnaires’ disease across your organisation.

While you may not be directly involved in the day-to-day legionella management, you will still need to be kept up to speed with what’s happening, and any concerns raised.

At the end of the day, even if you’re not managing the risk yourself, the responsibility is ultimately yours, and any complications rest solely on your shoulders.

What is a legionella responsible person?

Your responsible person’s responsibility will be to ensure that preventative measures are in place, remedial action is taken when required, and all ongoing tests are happening to keep your water safe and legionella free. 

They’ll also maintain regular communications with your water hygiene and legionella compliance companyYour legionella responsible person can be anyone in your company, however it should be someone with enough authority and knowledge to get the job done.

What’s the difference between the duty holder and the responsible person?

The duty holder is the owner of the business or the managing director. The legionella responsible person is an employee who has been designated to carry out all legionella preventative measures (testing, reporting and organising remedial works). The duty holder has overall responsibility, but the responsible person handles all the daily work.

While the duty holder can, of course, be the responsible person, it’s usually assigned to a separate person.

What does a legionella responsible person do?

Your responsible person should be senior, and have the authority to make decisive, key decisions surrounding your legionella compliance.

This means that they’ll be in charge of:

  • Understanding (and educating your team) about ACoP L8, HSG274, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • Monitoring water temperature in your water systems.
  • Having a thorough understanding of the risks threatening water systems.
  • Organising legionella risk assessments and helping to implement control measures from the resulting risk assessment report. 
  • Keeping all maintenance records.
  • Ensure that everyone in the organisation who are involved in the control of legionella bacteria are trained and competent. 
  • Booking and organising legionella awareness and water hygiene training

How to choose the right legionella responsible person

Choosing the right person for the job can be difficult. Usually, being the responsible person for an organisation is added on to all other responsibilities, so someone who is highly organised is a must!

ACoP L8 stipulates that “those specifically appointed to implement the control measures and strategies should be suitably informed, instructed and trained and their suitability assessed. They must be properly trained to a level that ensures tasks are carried out in a safe, technically competent manner; and receive regular refresher training.”

Your responsible person should either be:

  • A senior member of your team who has undergone water safety and legionella prevention courses.
  • A legionella control professional.
  • A suitably qualified plumber (some plumbers boast training in legionella prevention).

Does my responsible person need to be trained?

While your chosen person only technically needs to be deemed “competent”, we highly recommend legionella responsible person training. 

“Competent” is an incredibly vague term. As legionella compliance is such an important role, then taking the time to learn all about the bacteria, and what needs to be done to mitigate risks, can hugely benefit your chosen responsible person.

If you require legionella training or support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly specialists today.

What is legionella responsible person training?

Training for your legionella responsible person should cover everything they need to know about legionella control:


While they won’t need a fully comprehensive understanding of all of these, a good knowledge is essential, so get the books out!

Water hygiene & legionella compliance training

We get it, being a responsible person is a lot of responsibility (it’s in the name!). 

However, there’s no reason that you need to tackle this responsibility on your own. Our team at H2O Hygiene believe that with the right training and education, you can handle anything your water system throws at you.

Get in touch with our experts today for bespoke advice. Rely on us for tailored training, water hygiene services, legionella compliance and much more.

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