As part of the law outlined in The Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (S.I. No. 10 of 2005), measures are required to be in place to manage the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria in the workplace.
Much health and safety legislation and practice focus on the statutory duty holder being responsible for things either being done right or being put right.
This is a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly.
In this blog, we help you understand the role of duty holder and the responsibilities that come along with it.
Who is the Duty Holder for Legionella?
The Duty Holder, also known as the Statutory Duty Holder, can be referred to as someone who has, to any extent, control of the business premises.
In most cases, it is the business owner or Managing Director of the company and has the overall responsibility for the building and water systems and is accountable for the safety of employees and users by law.
It can be a person, i.e. the business owner, but it could also be a company/corporate body.
In estate management practice, it is common to have several duty holders within one building who may have responsibilities in relation to managing the risk of legionella bacteria growth and proliferation in their water systems.
What are the Responsibilities of the Duty Holder?
The role takes overall responsibility to ensure that the standard for the control of legionella is implemented and that appropriate funding is made available to carry out remedial works and management activities.
The duty holder must ensure that water systems presenting a risk of exposure to legionella bacteria on the premises are identified, that an assessment of the risk is made, and that any necessary precautionary measures are taken.
The specific responsibilities of the duty holders are:
- Identify and assess sources of risk
- Prepare a written scheme for preventing or controlling the risk
- Implement, manage and monitor the scheme to control legionella
- Keep records of all precautions taken, including risk assessments, their findings and the results of all inspections and tests
- Appoint a competent person with sufficient authority and knowledge of any water installation to help take measures needed to comply with the law.
If the facility in question might be susceptible to bacterial contamination, the duty holder is bound by law to carry a legionella risk assessment and have a control plan in place.
The duty holder must ensure that the legionella risk assessment is reviewed. This must be done if changes are made to the systems or to the building in which they are housed, to the use of the systems, or to the management of the systems.
The duty holder may or may not be experienced in managing legionella risks but should have a good understanding of the risks so as they can perform their responsibilities efficiently.
Duty holders are tasked with appointing a competent Responsible Person (RP) capable of controlling the outbreak and managing a written scheme of work compliant with ACOP L8 & HSPC’s guidelines, which is to be then undertaken and supervised by the duty holder.
Difference between Duty Holder and Responsible Person
Mixing up the Duty Holder and the Responsible Person or using their titles interchangeably is a common mistake made by many organisations.
Anyone in control of business premises is automatically considered the statutory duty holder. The responsibility of controlling and preventing legionella in the facility lies with Duty Holder and under general health and safety law, they are required to prevent and control the bacteria.
A Duty Holder appoints a Responsible Person to take managerial responsibility for controlling Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease in the workplace. The responsible person 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.
In large organisations, the responsible person is likely to be a senior safety or engineering manager, an estates or facilities manager or some other senior manager with responsibility for the maintenance of the premises. The duty holder is usually more senior and holds a greater degree of responsibility for all issues within a business.
Landlords As Duty Holders
People operating as private landlords and lettings agents are also defined as duty holders.
Landlords must make sure anyone renting and staying in their property is safe from any potential hazards that could pose a threat to their health and safety.
This applies to all landlords who rent out properties to individuals, and also to those who rent out rooms in hostels and manage housing associations.
Since, simple domestic properties tend to pose a lower risk from legionella, especially if the water systems are managed correctly, landlords do not have to perform a detailed risk assessment.
However, a basic legionella risk assessment should always be completed that identifies the primary risks and how they should be managed, and you should keep a copy of this risk assessment for your records.
The one thing that you shouldn’t do is nothing, as non-compliance could result in prosecution and hefty fines.
Expert Legionella Control Assistance
ACOP L8 includes clear guidelines for duty holders to ensure that they deal with both the risk and the control of legionella in the right way.
It is imperative that duty holders fully grasp the scale of their responsibility, understand the latest guidance and Codes of Practice and ensure that the stipulated steps are taken to assess and control risks such as legionella.
Celtic Water Solutions offers a comprehensive range of water hygiene solutions to help duty holders and responsible persons perform their duties efficiently. We offer expert assistance regarding legionella risk management, risk assessment, and compliance issues.
Our legionella consultants work with organizations of all sizes to develop legionella risk management plans that will help to keep people safe, protect your reputation and demonstrate to the authorities that you are taking appropriate measures to manage the risks in your business.
For more information on our legionella control programmes, feel free to contact us.
Speak to a Consultant