No matter in what industry or sector you operate, you need to ensure, as an employer, that you provide your workforce with access to clean, safe drinking water. There are times when ensuring that water is both accessible and safe to drink can be problematic. This is no truer than in an industrial setting and yet, it is probably in such a setting that the availability of a plentiful supply of drinking water is most needed. Water in an industrial setting Some industrial settings present significant hazards to a workforce – working in dirty or dusty conditions can lead to all kinds of health hazards. Workplaces are far safer today than they ever have been and, with an increased awareness of hazards and potential threats, the modern industrial workspace is not only safer but healthier too. It is for this very reason that the provision of clean, drinking water, in plentiful supply, is important. Regularly drinking and staying hydrated means that staff members are hydrated, which has an impact on concentration levels. It is also a far healthier state for the human body to be in, to be able to resist the impact of dust, grime, heat and so on. Accessible drinking water Tap water is safe here in the UK, to drink but it does contain an array of chemicals that make it safe to drink. This process is essential and although there is free flowing water from a tap, it can be located in a place that is not convenient. When a workforce relies on water from a tap, it means that they may only access it when on a break or on lunch. Accessing water twice in an 8-hour shift, for example, is not enough but, staff members may be unable to leave the point where they are working, for safety reasons. The answer is to move water closer to your work force, putting it in a place where it is accessible, every minute of their soft or working day. It needs to be in a place where they can access quickly and without fuss. Leasing or hiring water coolers is the solution but, even then, there are some additional considerations of which we need to be aware:
- The number of water coolers
Most bottle-fed water coolers hold around 4 gallons in a full bottle of water. This may be more than enough for a large office over a period of time but, if you have a large workforce working in hot or difficult conditions, the water uptake from the water cooler could be significantly higher.
We suggest placing more water coolers in an industrial setting or, if possible, to include a plumbed-in water cooler. This gives an unlimited supply of filtered, cooled water for your workforce and is a fixed addition to the shop floor.
It may be that you will want to move the water coolers at some point; if this is the case, a bottle-fed water cooler would be the right option.
When equipment is required to function in certain kinds of environments, it may be that they need an increased level of maintenance to ensure that they carry on working, trouble-free.
In a normal operating environment, this scheduled maintenance may only need to happen on an annual basis. In an industrial environment, this maintenance may need to happen more often. We understand that in some situations, the industrial environment may mean that the water cooler can be required to operate in an environment that is less than ideal.
Water coolers, as per the guidelines of the British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) should be cleaned every 13 weeks. This means washing the system through with a bleach-mix that kills bacteria and water-borne nasties.
There is also a need to keep the exterior of the water cooler clean too. With layers of dust, dirt and grime being a possibility in an industrial setting, the water cooler may not meet basic hygiene standards. If this is the case, the water cooler could be making the workforce ill.
A water cooler in an industrial setting, such as a factory floor, is also more likely to be knocked and accidentally bashed which means the equipment itself needs to be robust, capable of withstanding an environment that places more pressure on it than an office-based environment would.
Water in any setting is important but in an industrial setting, providing the additional considerations are met, water coolers can play a pivotal role in keeping your workforce hydrated with safe, clean water.