Water Hygiene training becoming mandated by UK water companies

Everyone working in contact with the water supply should embed this excellence in operating practice

Whilst essential utility services are delivered to and used by around 65 million people in homes and businesses across the country every day of the year, tap water is the one element that is actually consumed by all the UK citizens.

Maintaining the highest standards of public health is critical, which is why it is imperative that everyone who works with or around the public water supply understands their duties to best practice and risk management.

UK water companies take their management of drinking water quality and safety very seriously, and expect all of their delivery partners and others in contact with water from source to tap to do the same. One example is Severn Trent Water, who are now mandating the National Water Hygiene ‘blue cards’ not only for all individuals working on water treatment sites, but also for its non-operational staff, including its Chief Executive and senior management teams.

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of the Energy & Utility Skills Group, comments:

“The National Water Hygiene training and accreditation scheme was introduced to the industry a decade ago, as a collaboration between the UK water industry, key public health bodies and Energy & Utility Skills to provide staff with the ability to operate to the highest hygiene and safety practices whilst working on the water network. It now forms an established and vital element of good practice, and it is excellent to see companies like Severn Trent Water setting out very clearly their expected standards of hygiene knowledge and behaviours to promote a safety culture right across their entire business”

“Water hygiene standards do not stop with the UKs water industry workforce. It is important for anyone working in contact with the water supply – contractors, environmental health practitioners, building maintenance companies, local authorities and plumbers – to embed this excellence in their operating practice. By working together we can increase the awareness and understanding of how important it is to maintain the water quality for the 65 million citizens across the country to consume every day. The industry’s recognised ‘blue card’ will continue to play a key part in that endeavour.”

Severn Trent, as one of the largest of the ten regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales, have made an executive decision to mandate that all those who work directly in contact with drinking water should hold a National Water hygiene, and then gone one important step further. Martin Kane, Chief Engineer of Severn Trent plc explains:

‘In Severn Trent we place great importance on water quality. We have mandated the National Water Hygiene ‘blue cards’ for all individuals working on our water treatment sites. On top of that, we believe it is essential that our non-operational staff also understand the causes of water quality issues and what best practice looks like. We like to start at the top, so all of our Executive team are ‘blue card’ holders”.

The National Water Hygiene ‘blue card’ has over ten years become a recognised standard across the water industry, helping to protect the high standards of the UK’s drinking water – from its precious source all the way to the tap.

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