Managing the Risk: Management Responsibilities, Training and Competence
|Regulations||Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999, regulations 8 and 12; Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, sections 2.3 and 4; Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 5.|
|Acop||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 person on whom the statutory duty falls should appoint a person or persons to take managerial responsibilities and to provide supervision for the implementation of precautions. Persons who carry out the assessment and who 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:(a) potential sources and the risks they present;
(b) measures to be adopted, including precautions to be taken for the protection of people concerned; and their significance; and measures to be taken to ensure that controls remain effective, and their
Where the above expertise is not possessed by the person or persons appointed, it may not be necessary to enlist help and support from outside the organisation. In such circumstances, the person or persons appointed should take all reasonable steps to ensure the competence of those carrying out the work who are not under their direct control and that responsibilities and lines of communication are properly established and clearly laid down.
Management and communication procedures should be periodically reviewed as appropriate.
|Guidance||Inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication have all been identified as contributory factors in outbreaks of Legionnaire’ Disease. It is, therefore, important that those people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities.The duty holder should appoint a person to take day-to-day responsibility for controlling any identified risk from legionella bacteria. The appointed responsible person should be a manager, director or have similar status and sufficient authority, competence and knowledge of the installation to ensure that all operational procedures are carried out in a timely and effective manner. If a duty holder is self-employed or a member of a partnership and is competent, they may appoint themselves. The responsible person should have a clear understanding of their duties and the overall health and safety management structure and policy in the organisation. Further guidance is given in Successful Health and Safety Management HSG65.
Those who are appointed to carry out the control measures and strategies should be suitably informed, instructed and trained to a standard which ensures that tasks are carried out in a safe, technically-competent manner. Regular refresher training should be given and records of all initial training and refresher training need to be maintained. Although training is an essential element of competence, it is not the only factor – it should be viewed as a product of sufficient training, experience, knowledge and other personal qualities which are needed to undertake a job safely. Competence is dependent on the needs of the situation and the nature of the risks involved.
Implementation of the control scheme
The implementation of the system control scheme should be regularly and frequently monitored and everyone involved in any related operational procedure should be properly supervised. Staff responsibilities and lines of communication should be properly defined and clearly documented.
Arrangements should be made to ensure that appropriate staff levels are maintained during all hours that the water system is in operation. The precise requirements will depend on the nature and complexity of the water system. In some cases (for example, where there is complex cooling plant), shift working and arrangements to cover for all absences from duty, for whatever reason, may be necessary. Appropriate arrangements should be made to ensure that the responsible person or an authorised deputy can be contacted at all times.
Call-out arrangements for people engaged in the management of water systems which operate automatically also need to be made. Details of the contact arrangements for emergency call-out personnel should be clearly displayed at access points to all automatically or remotely-controlled water systems.
Communications and management procedures are particularly important where several people are responsible for different aspects of the operational procedures. For example, responsibility for applying precautions may change when shift work is involved, or when the person who monitors the efficacy of a water treatment regime may not be the person who applies it. In such circumstances, responsibilities should be well defined in writing and understood by all concerned. Lines of communication should be clear, unambiguous and audited regularly to ensure they are effective. This also applies to outside companies and consultants who may be responsible for certain parts of the control regime.
The employment of contractors or consultants does not absolve the duty-holder of responsibility for ensuring that control procedures are carried out to the standard required to prevent the proliferation of legionella bacteria. Organisations should make reasonable enquiries to satisfy themselves of the competence of contractors in the area of work before entering into contracts for the treatment, monitoring and cleaning of the water system and other aspects of water treatment and control. More general information on selecting a health and safety consultancy can be found in a free HSE leaflet.
An illustration of the levels of service which should be expected from service providers can be found in the Code of Conduct developed jointly by the Water Management Society and the British Association for Chemical Specialities (WMS/BACS). The Code of Conduct does not have any legal status under health and safety law, but should help occupiers choose a suitable service provider to help them control the risks from legionella bacteria.