The Importance of
Health and Safety
Training and Legionella
Health and safety training and legionella compliance are legal requirements which ensure the general wellbeing of your staff, and, if not regularly monitored and maintained, can greatly impact upon rail operations.
Both of these areas served as hot topics at the recent Railway Environmental Forum 2019, with the key learnings summarised below to provide those who were unable to attend the event an insight into the discussions that took place.
Health and Safety Training
Health and safety training can sometimes be overlooked or not taken as seriously as it should be by employers or those in positions of responsibility within their organisation. However, if applied correctly, it can have a positive influence on efficiency and productivity. The 2017 Dale Carnegie study found that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.
Health and safety requires you to:
- Plan your work
- Organise your staff
- Communicate the work method effectively and adequately supervise your staff
- Monitor the workplace and routinely talk to your staff
- Review the process
Is health and safety training a legal requirement?
Everyone needs training, including managers, supervisors, employees, contractors and self-employed people working on behalf of an organisation. The Health and Safety at Work Act states that the employer must provide information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure their employees are competent to undertake their duties. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations expand to identify where health and safety training is particularly important. These are at induction, when there is exposure to new risks, where there are changes to the environment or changes to processes. Penalties for health and safety violations affect company stability with financial penalties of fines and prosecution, which in turn has an impact on morale and reputation.
Who requires health and safety training within the rail sector?
Staff in all workplaces require training, and while there are differences between a railway goods yard, maintenance depot, lineside buildings and offices, they each have differing risks and the potential to cause harm. There should be no room for complacency in low risk environments - employers have a responsibility to identify, monitor and reduce risk for their staff, contractors and others working on sites. How can health and safety training programmes benefit rail businesses?
A good training programme can help to reduce costs and streamline activities, enabling businesses to cut down on lost time. It reduces the likelihood of workplace accidents, injuries or illnesses, which means less disruption for line managers as a result of lost skills, knowledge and experience and time taken to seek replacements.
A strong policy can help to build good relationships with employees, as staff who feel safe and valued will be less likely to leave and will be more loyal to employers. All of the above points are therefore important in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace and in engaging new employees.
How do you cultivate an effective health and safety training programme?
- Decide what your organisation needs via Training Needs Analysis
- Decide on your training priorities according to your business’ needs
- Choose your training methods and resources. Training can be a mixture of classroom-based courses or e-learning, and a blended training approach can provide a flexible option for training large numbers of people
- Deliver the training. This can be done through face-to-face training or e-learning
- Check that the training has worked
To find out more about SOCOTEC’s array of health and safety consultancy services, click here.
Legionella bacteria is present in all water systems, so it is important to prevent conditions where bacteria could flourish and to try to reduce the potential for aerosol release and exposure, as well as continually managing the risks and reduce the potential for Legionellosis.
What does the law say?
For the management and control of Legionellosis, an employer, self-employed person or persons who are in control of a premises in connection to a workplace as a tenant or landlord is required to:
- Identify and assess sources of risk
- Prepare a written scheme for preventing or controlling the risk
- Implement, manage and monitor precautions
- Appoint a competent person or persons to manage the risk (otherwise known as the responsible person)
- Keep records of the precautions
Documentation and management
The risk assessment is the starting point for legionella control and is a legal requirement. Risks are assessed by the following stages:
- Identify the hazard
- Assess and analyse who might be at harm and how
- Evaluate and decide on precautions
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your control and assessment and update where required
The risk assessment must assess the services present, the written scheme and the management programme. Once this has been completed, recommendations and actions are required. As control measures are carried out, the risk assessment actions list should be completed and signed off by the responsible person. Where applicable, appropriate sections in the Log Book should be amended when there are changes.
The assessment should be a living document and must be reviewed regularly/when there is reason to believe that the original assessment may no longer be valid. The duty holder has overall responsibility for health and safety, including legionella management and control. Responsibilities include ensuring risk assessments are undertaken, appointing the competent/responsible person in writing, authorising the written scheme, including the legionella policy, implementing the written scheme and ensuring records are kept.
Legal accountability and responsibilities
Overall accountability for legionella compliance remains with the owners and duty holders, a position of work which allows the person nominated as ‘responsible’ to exercise appropriate management duties to achieve the required results, such as managing the risk from legionella. The duty holder can assign responsibility but cannot discharge their legal accountability, thereby making them ultimately accountable.
The nominated Responsible Person(s) should be a member of staff with sufficient competence and knowledge of the building/site who ensures that measures are put in place to guarantee all operational procedures are carried out in a timely, effective manner.
This person would usually report to the duty holder, have day-to-day responsibility for legionella control and ensure the adequate training and competence of themselves, operational staff and any contractors or sub-contractors. They should also be responsible for ensuring the accurate completion of the Log Book.
Service providers include risk assessors, monitoring companies, consultants and contractors carrying out such duties as water treatment, cleaning and disinfection. They should preferably be signed up to the LCA Code of Conduct and provide a copy of their Certificate of Registration for insertion in the Site Logbook. They should also provide evidence of legionella competence and training and details of the Service Provider(s) must be outlined in the Logbook.
Records must be kept of all monitoring, inspections and maintenance undertaken on the water systems present. Paper or electronic Logbooks are acceptable, but records must be readily available and easy to read and interpret. Typical information provided and kept in a Logbook include names, positions and contact details of people involved in the control process, information on the system and how it operates, records of all monitoring and inspections undertaken, control parameters, a visit log and method statements, to name a few.
Risk assessments and control schemes should be kept while current and for two years after that period, while monitoring results should be retained for at least five years. Legionella compliance should be a factor during the design phase of a build. Failure to manage faults and issues could lead to prosecution. Faults and issues should be logged as soon as they are identified and a defect log and a diary of events kept. The Responsible Person should be informed so it can be managed. Therefore, records must be kept of all work undertaken and once addressed, the fault should be signed off as completed.
Regular reviews of Legionella are now required in L8. Please see the table below for further information on the process/actions required.