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Water hygiene risk assessments in schools – Why are they important?

Water hygiene risk assessments form an integral part of ensuring the safety of a wide range of environments. From offices to hospitals, contaminated water sources can be a major cause of illness, in some cases even fatality.

In this latest guide we outline why water hygiene risk assessments are so important in schools, and help you to develop an effective risk mitigation strategy.

For further advice from a leading team of experts, we recommend reading the guidance on the Water Hygiene Centre site. 

Young people are higher risk

One of the main reasons that water hygiene risk assessments are so important in schools is the following. Children are generally at a higher level of risk from a wide range of water-born illnesses, including Legionnaires disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that can occur where high levels of Legionella bacteria are present. 

As young people are even more susceptible to a wide range of water-borne hazards, the level of care needed is higher than in environments which are frequented primarily by adults.

Reputation

One of the most important aspects of any organisation is its reputation, and this is especially the case with schools. Parents trust that schools will both educate and, more importantly, protect and look after their children while they’re in their care. 

Failures surrounding the implementation of water safety measures can not only have disastrous effects on the health and safety of the kids under your protection, but cause long-lasting damage to the reputation of your establishment. Water hygiene risk assessments form a core part of protecting that reputation, by ensuring the protection of the children under your care.

Compliance

The level of regulatory compliance in school environments is understandably very high. Part of ensuring compliance lies in the completion of regular water hygiene assessments. 

If compliance is found to be consistently lacking, the measures that might be put in place by regulatory bodies could be severe, potentially leading to the closure of the school. 

In the case that an outbreak of a waterborne illness were to occur, a history of regular and well-documented testing would be highly necessary to avoid litigation and other serious legal ramifications.

Regular testing

Water hygiene risk assessments are an ongoing requirement. They aren’t there to solve an issue once and for all, due to the fact that the environmental factors which contribute to waterborne illnesses are constantly changing. It’s imperative that water hygiene risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis, and that changes are made based on the findings of those assessments. 

A potential remedial change would be the following. If water was found to be both stagnant for long periods of time and at certain temperatures, it could be deemed appropriate to install Thermostatic Mixer Valves (TMVs) to ensure that water doesn’t flow at dangerously hot temperatures.

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