Ten years ago, a leakage detection engineer for RPS attended the very first National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme and still carries the little ‘blue card’ today.
Paul Standing, the UK’s longest ‘blue card’ holder in the UK said:
“It’s important to realise that when you are working with drinking water you are affecting people’s lives, so it’s imperative you do your job properly. Water is a food stuff and the National Water Hygiene training explains how to treat your tools, pumps and vans in the same way a chef would keep their kitchen work area clean and tidy.”
The National Water Hygiene ‘blue card’, now mandated by many of the UK’s water companies, was originally created in collaboration between Energy & Utility Skills, the UK water industry and key public health bodies to provide staff with the ability to operate to the highest hygiene and safety practices whilst working on the water network.
Mark Smith, Business Development Director at RPS, one of the first organisations to realise the benefits of the ‘blue card’ said:
“As a service provider to all of the major water companies, the National Water Hygiene ‘blue card’ enables us, to fulfil our Health and Safety requirements. The ‘blue card’ reassures our clients that all of our staff are trained to a competent level when it comes to safe and hygienic working practices and are encouraged to work to standards at all times whilst working on the network.
“As the National Water Hygiene ‘blue card’ is a nationally recognised award, our operatives are more confident in their own ability to work in a safe and professional manner on the water network. This confidence in our staff in turn helps us to provide a better quality of service to the clients.”
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, comments:
“The National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme is a great example of how sector collaboration can deliver tangible health and safety benefits and help ensure that the many billions of litres of tap water supplied to around 65 million people each and every day, stay at their high levels of quality. Tens of thousands of people have been through the training and accreditation over the last ten years, and I strongly recommend that any individuals working in contact with mains drinking water – anywhere along its journey from source to tap – do the same to fully understand where the risks of poor hygiene may lie and how best to mitigate them.”
“Energy & Utility Skills will be further increasing its work across the whole UK water industry workforce, but also with plumbers, contractors, environmental health practitioners, building maintenance companies and local authorities to help embed excellence in operating practice, and increase sector skills and understanding. The highly successful ‘blue card’ will continue to play a key part in that endeavour”.
“It is important that those that hold a card ensure it is within the three-year validation period on the EUSR secure verification register, and that those accountable for quality do ask for proof of competence from anyone working in contact with the public water supply, and then take advantage of the 24/7/365 available systems to check the validity.”
Milo Purcell, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Drinking Water Inspectorate comments:
“It is important for anyone working in contact with the water supply, to learn and fully understand their responsibilities to protecting public health and public confidence in drinking water quality. The Drinking Water Inspectorate expects all those involved to operate to the highest standards of hygiene and safety, ensuring that clean drinking water remains wholesome and there is no deterioration to the quality of supply.”
You can find more about the course content on the National Water Hygiene scheme page of the EUSR website at eusr.co.uk.