National Water Hygiene
About the Scheme
Our National Water Hygiene (‘Blue Card’) scheme plays a vital part in ensuring the protection of public health and promoting safe drinking water practices. Originally developed in 2006, this scheme replaced the many different water company specific hygiene training programmes and courses, removing the need for individuals to undergo separate testing, health screening and the carrying of multiple cards.
Water companies across the UK mostly mandate National Water Hygiene for individuals entering clean water sites or engaged in operations on the clean water network, whether in direct contact with water or not.
We have recently re-developed our NWH scheme and its delivery materials. We have updated the scheme specification so that it clarifies what an individual will be assessed on and refreshed the programme slide show to both streamline delivery and ensure a more engaging approach. We have also introduced a Programme Leader’s Guide (PLG) to support trainers and give them a range of delivery tools (ie key facts, exercises, case studies) to enable a better all-round learning experience.
The re-developed scheme was launched in March 2019 and is currently being used by all approved NWH trainers.
Milo Purcell, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Drinking Water Inspectorate has stated “The Drinking Water Inspectorate welcomes this update to the Scheme, which covers a core competency for all those involved in the provision of water supply to the consumer’s tap. Participation in the Scheme helps promote high standards of hygiene and safety, ensuring that drinking water remains clean and safe, and that consumers are protected.”
“The updated National Water Hygiene Scheme is founded on the best practice enshrined in the water industry’s Principles of Water Supply Hygiene. It provides personnel in the sector with knowledge and awareness of the public health implications of their roles, and enables water companies and contractors working on water supply systems to demonstrate their commitment to the promotion of a public health culture in delivery of routine activities.”
More and more, individuals handling clean water for human consumption – contractors, facilities management organisations, environmental health practitioners, water engineers, plumbers – are expected to also have a ‘Blue Card’ to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of safe water hygiene practice.
Any individual working on a restricted operations area – such as service reservoirs, water pumping stations, water treatment works, wells, springs and boreholes or working on the network of water mains and service pipes – must have a National Water Hygiene EUSR registration.
The training and assessment on this scheme is the same for direct employees of water companies and individuals employed by contractors that work on the restricted operations sites – including self-lay organisations working on new developments.
A health screening questionnaire must be completed by all individuals prior to the training and assessment. In this questionnaire, individuals must declare whether they have, or have had in the preceding 12 months, any of these illnesses:
- Persistent diarrhoea or vomiting
- Jaundice or Hepatitis (A or E)
- Prolonged unexplained fever
If the individual has, or has had, any of these illnesses, then medical clearance must be obtained before any EUSR registration application can be submitted.
Registration on EUSR
Registration is based on successful completion of the training programme and assessment. Training is delivered through a network of Energy & Utility Skills approved trainers and they all deliver the same training programme and assessment. The training usually lasts about half a working day and is interactive, with trainer-led activities plus individuals are invited to share and discuss their own experiences with the group.
EUSR registration for National Water Hygiene is for three years from the date of assessment.
Find Out More
If you would like to get trained in this scheme, please see our list of training providers. If you are a trainer and would like to deliver this scheme, please see our guidance in the Approval and Delivery section.
If you have any queries relating to EUSR or the evidence requirements for any of our schemes or programmes, please contact the EUSR Support team. We are available Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm via email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 0845 077 99 22.