Who Is Responsible For Water Hygiene In The Workplace? 18th February 2022

Who Is Responsible For Water Hygiene In The Workplace?

If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, it is your responsibility to ensure that procedures to uphold water hygiene are followed through.

The employer responsible is known as the “Responsible Person” in context to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8. It is their job to ensure other employees are complying with the ACOP and to also guarantee their safety from harmful bacteria.

It is important to understand health risks associated with poor water hygiene.

In this post, we’ll discuss who is responsible for water hygiene in the workplace, and the duties they have to uphold regulations and confirm employee safety.

What Are The Risks Of Legionella Bacteria?

Legionella bacteria can be, potentially, harmful to life because it can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, which is a type of pneumonia.

Hot and cold water systems, such as cooling towers, are favourable conditions for the bacteria to grow. Particular groups of people (over 65’s, smokers, immune-compromised) are more at risk than others from this lung infection.

Therefore, the HSE ACOP L8 requires that organisations appoint a “Responsible Person” who will have the day-to-day responsibility to protect employees from the risks of poor water hygiene in the workplace.

Who Is The “Responsible Person”?

The HSE ACOP L8 requires that the “Responsible Person” should be appointed by the Duty Holder. The person appointed should be a senior manager, a director, or have sufficient workplace authority, competence, and knowledge of the organisation’s method. Operational procedures are ensured to be carried out safely, in an effective manner, to protect the health and safety of the workplace employees.

Clear understanding of their daily tasks and of the health and safety management structure and organisation policies is essential for the person taking on such an important role.

What Does The “Responsible Person” Do?

Importantly, the responsible person must fully understand all the regulations and acts in place. This includes the ACOP L8, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and COSHH 2002 (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002).

As the person responsible for the management of water hygiene in the workplace, it’s vital that they are able to perform risk assessments, identifying and assessing any possible sources of risk, and then manage them.

As an example, a responsible person may check if:

  • The water temperature is between 20-45 degrees Celsius in the system
  • The conditions are likely to encourage multiplication of bacteria
  • Sources of rust, scale or organic matter are present
  • Any employees are more susceptible to infection due to their health or age
  • Any employees could be exposed to contaminated water droplets

In the position of the responsible person, they must manage and reduce any possible risks. Additionally, they need to be able to then help prevent or control the risks, updating any workplace records with information.

Other duties may include reporting any cases of legionellosis in employees who have worked with cooling towers and hot and cold water systems to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

Does The Responsible Person Need Training?

When the responsible person, or “Competent Person”, is appointed, it must be guaranteed that they have sufficient instruction and training in order to perform their duties.

They will be given sufficient information, instruction and training on legionella risks and risk assessments. Also, they will be given training and instruction on the precautionary actions necessary in order to safeguard themselves and the others in the workplace.

Although training is essential, the knowledge, experience, and personal qualities of the responsible person is also relevant to good performance in this role.

Contact Us

Cold Water Storage has a collective 30 years of experience and knowledge in the water hygiene and Legionella industry.

This experience allows us to be meticulous in our Legionella risk assessments and provide water treatment services to warrant your compliance with water hygiene regulations.

We also install, repair, reline and replace cold water tanks.

We hope we have answered your query “Who Is Responsible For Water Hygiene In The Workplace?”, If you’d like more Get in touch with our team today. Call us at 01943 872 311 or email info@coldwaterstorage.co.uk. We’ll respond as soon as possible!