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  • by Karma Loveday

Paper questions whether all water asset workers know the ropes on hygiene

Water sector organisations have questioned whether non-water company individuals, who are carrying out work on water supply assets have full knowledge of what is required to comply fully with water supply hygiene rules.

A recently published paper from a partnership of 28 water and energy organisations formed by skills advocate, Energy and Utilities Skills “seeks confirmation” that the National Water Hygiene Scheme (NWHS) has “kept up with the increasing water industry drive for hygiene.”

The paper, Mind the Gap – What’s Missing in Protecting Drinking Water Quality? questions “whether third party suppliers and Self Lay Providers that work in contact with water company assets on ‘restricted operations’ have the latest knowledge on what full compliance involves.”

Report author and director of Policy Consulting Network, Phillip Mills (pictured), said that while there were industry mandates in place to ensure that people employed directly by water companies are trained, there were “question marks” over the consistency in the interpretation of the term ‘restricted operations.’”

He said there were concerns about the level of knowledge of water supply hygiene among non-water company individuals, who were carrying out work on water supply assets. “Any lack of training and awareness, and subsequent actions or inactions, can present an ongoing risk to drinking water quality that needs to be addressed,” said Mills.

The paper was published as part of a strategic review of the NWHS by Energy & Utility Skills which operates the scheme on behalf of the UK water industry.

Energy & Utility Skills, has established a new National Water Hygiene Group "to bring the leading UK water companies together to drive best practice and address the professional challenge raised by Mind the Gap."

Energy & Utility Skills chief, Nick Ellins, said: “This paper directly challenges us all to scrutinise our approaches and be sure that we are doing all we can to minimise risk and be robust.”

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