Why is water hygiene important in the construction industry?

As a result of the numerous hazards present in construction sites, it’s imperative that there are foolproof plans put in place to mitigate the risks.

The use of water in construction sites is essential for various purposes, including mixing concrete, dust suppression, and flushing of pipes.

Additionally, construction workers need to be provided with a safe, reliable water source to drink from and wash their hands when they want. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that the water supply used is safe and free from harmful contaminants. Here are some of the main reasons why water hygiene is important in the construction industry in the UK.

1.   Legal compliance

The UK has a robust regulatory framework for water hygiene that applies to the construction industry. The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and the Water Industry Act 1991 set out the legal requirements for the design, installation, and maintenance of water systems, while The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 specify that employees must be provided with safe, reliable water sources for their well being. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal repercussions, fines, and reputational damage.

2.   Health and safety

Water hygiene is a significant concern in the construction industry as it directly impacts the health and safety of workers and the public. Construction sites can often be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria, perhaps most notably Legionella pneumophila, a bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease when inhaled into the lungs in high concentrations.

Legionella risk assessments, ongoing monitoring, and disinfection of water systems can all help to prevent the potentially dangerous growth of bacteria, ensuring that the water supply used is safe for all to use and up to regulatory specifications.

3.   Reputation

Water hygiene is also an important factor to consider when it comes to the public’s perception of construction companies. Companies that have a reputation for poor water hygiene practices, especially if it leads to a newsworthy incident, can face significant reputational damage. This in turn can negatively affect the ability to win contracts and attract the kinds of employees you’d want working for your company.

By prioritising water hygiene, construction companies can demonstrate their commitment to health and safety and the overall quality of their construction projects, improving their reputation and their ability to attract and retain workers.

4.   Environmental sustainability

Water hygiene can also be an important aspect of sustainable construction, which seeks to minimise the environmental impact of building works. By ensuring that the water supply used in construction is kept in good condition, and free from leaks or contaminants, construction companies can reduce the amount of water needed for a wide variety of purposes, and in doing so minimise water wastage. This can contribute to the conservation of water resources, helping construction companies meet their sustainability goals.

Clearly, water hygiene is a critical concern in the UK construction industry due to legal, health and safety, reputational, and environmental factors. Construction companies have a responsibility to prioritise water hygiene by implementing effective monitoring, cleaning, and disinfection procedures for their water systems. By taking these steps, businesses can ensure the well being of both their workers and their clients, comply with legal regulations, improve their reputation, and contribute to environmental sustainability.