Some of the water health and safety risks that you might need to act on include:
Mains water is treated to be clean and safe for drinking. However, in some circumstances your business may be required to carry out additional water quality testing to make sure that your supply is up to standard. This is particularly important if your organisation has responsibility for vulnerable individuals, for example if you’re a healthcare organisation or a housing association.
Your business’s water infrastructure, such as pipes and tanks, could become a source of contamination if they’re not correctly maintained. Regular bacteriological testing as well as chlorination can help to manage this risk and prevent any problems.
Every business has a responsibility to manage the risk of a legionella outbreak. While legionella occurs naturally at low levels in clean water, maintenance or infrastructure problems can provide a breeding ground where the bacteria could grow to dangerous levels. An outbreak can cause serious illness or even prove fatal, so regulations on legionella control should be high priority.
A legionella risk assessment can identify any areas of your business’s water infrastructure where the bacteria might be able to multiply. Simple changes and hygiene processes can then be put in place to prevent this from occurring.
To ensure your company stays on top of changing legislation and provides a safe environment for your employees and customers, there are a few steps to follow:
A risk assessment is the first stage of any business’s health and safety responsibilities. Risk assessment is the process of examining your business’s operations, working practices and equipment, and identifying any situations which could pose a risk to the health and safety of the people who are involved.
Getting risk assessments right is the key to ensuring that your water health and safety practices are fully compliant. The risk assessment will indicate what maintenance your water systems need and identify and remedial actions that need to be taken. It’s also important to ensure that they are kept up to date. If your processes change, new equipment is brought in, or new working practices are established, this could introduce new risks, so it’s important to conduct a new risk assessment.
Health and safety legislation and best practice changes regularly to reflect changes in industry practices or in available equipment to manage risk. It’s important that your company is aware of any changes that might affect them well in advance, so that you’re able to update your policies accordingly.
If your business is low-risk, such as an office, it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to stay on top of changing legislation yourself. However, if you’re in heavy industry or another higher-risk sector, the number of regulations you’ll be subject to is much higher, so an outside consultant might be better placed to help you stay up to date.
If you employ more than five people, your business has a legal responsibility to consult with employees on Health and Safety. While risk assessments will tell you a lot about the potential risks in your workplace, it’s important to also maintain regular communication with your team. As the people most familiar with your operations, they’re perfectly placed to advise you on risks that haven’t been identified, or procedures that aren’t working as well as they should be.
No matter how carefully thought-through your health and safety processes are, their success depends on how well they’re implemented. Procedures are useless if they aren’t followed correctly, so ensuring compliance is a major priority for all businesses. Regular monitoring is a good way of ensuring that standards are being maintained. Monitoring doesn’t have to be complicated – even a simple checklist could give you the confidence that your policies are being implemented correctly.
At its heart, Health and Safety legislation is based on simple principles. However, getting the right processes, equipment and checks in place to fulfil your business’s responsibilities can be challenging.
TWS offers a range of services to help your business stay compliant with environmental health legislation, and maintain a safe working environment for your employees.