Employers have a responsibility to provide complete, safe and clean workplace amenities to their workers. Every business, no matter how small, is expected to invest in sanitary drinking water, washing facilities for personal hygiene, and easily accessible and well-maintained toilets in the workplace. These amenities may all seem basic, but have a huge impact on protecting the health, well-being and dignity of employees.  

Workplace amenities should not only be provided, but they should also always be kept hygienic and well-maintained. For instance, a business may invest in the installation of hand wash basins with strong water supply, but their responsibility doesn’t stop there. It is also absolutely important for the storage tanks that feed water to the hand washing outlets to be regularly tested for potential contamination.  

Water storage tank testing is important because dirty or contaminated water in washing facilities can be a cause of serious illness among employees. Some of the most dangerous viruses and bacteria in water can cause life-threatening infections, even if the patient did not drink the water. Legionella bacteria are primary examples, as these can enter the human body and cause serious respiratory infections through mere exposure via inhalation of contaminated water vapour or droplets.

That’s why hand washing basins can be considered a hotspot for Legionnaires’ disease. Employees may have a separate supply for drinking water in their pantry or office dining areas. Thus, they generally would not be drinking water straight from the taps located in the bathroom or common washing areas. But they may brush their teeth, wash their personal effects or wash their face using water from the office bathroom sinks. These seemingly safe and sanitary activities, when done using Legionella-contaminated water, can lead to hospitalisation and, in many cases, death.

Busy businesses looking for a high-quality but reasonably priced testing solution can use portable testing kits supplied by leading water quality testing manufacturers. These portable kits allow companies to collect water samples from their facility and send them to a laboratory for analysis. The company should make sure to use water testing kits that are specifically designed for water storage tanks (there are testing kits especially designed for drinking water sources).     

Establishing and maintaining safe and healthy working spaces does not only help organisations comply with state and industry regulations. It also provides them significant economic advantages through better employee health, lower absentee rates, improved workforce productivity and reduced compensation costs.

Written by: +Duncan Hollis