You never get a good result from a badly taken sample.
We tend to take it for granted that, be it for drinking, food preparation, hygiene or process purposes, our water is of good quality. It is good to remember however, that once it has gone through the water meter, whatever you are doing with it, it becomes your responsibility. So how good is your water quality and could you prove if asked if is fit for purpose?
Drinking water in our workplaces is delivered in different ways, from taps to bottled dispensers, vending machines and water fountains. Drinking water also must meet a number of regulatory requirements on quality including:
- How it looks and tastes;
- Micro-organisms and;
- Chemicals (e.g. nitrate and pesticides) and metals (e.g. lead and copper).
The UK has some of the best-supplied water quality in the World with over 99.88% of samples taken meeting compliance with the strict standards by us and the EU (Water UK figures 2018).
Water is also used for washing, cleaning, sanitation, heating and cooling, irrigation and a whole host of other processes. Like drinking water, it also needs to be of the right quality, whether microbiological (total viable counts, indicator organisms, Legionella), chemical, metal or other (turbidity etc.).
The standards and quality requirements applicable will depend on how and where the water is being used. But maintaining that quality is important to not just the health of the workforce but the systems and processes that rely on water too.
Checking the quality is only part of the process, as several factors can affect the results and so the validity of any actions recommended or not, particularly with microbiological testing. These could include:
- Poorly taken samples can lead to contamination and so false results;
- Delays in getting samples to the lab and processed can dramatically affect counts - so leading to under or over reporting and so errors in advice being given;
- The systems and services being assessed are tested for incorrect parameters or;
- Samples are stored and transported incorrectly so become subject to other potentially influencing environmental factors.
At Assurity Consulting, not only do we have our own UKAS accredited laboratory to analyse your water, but our Consultants work to equally stringent procedures to make sure that all water samples are taken correctly and transported in a manner that delivers the most accurate as possible result.