Taking Water Safety More Seriously

Is water safety being overlooked?

Water Safety

In the PHAM News article below, Kevin Wellman of CIPHE talks about how seriously water safety is taken, looking at the level of training required compared with the mandatory level of training necessary for gas installers.

 

 

Water safety can often be overlooked or taken for granted, but potential risks should not be underestimated. Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE, puts the case for a more comprehensive approach to protecting the public and safeguarding the reputation of professionals.

It may be a shock to some that hot water scalding and Legionnaires’ disease is making a significant contribution to the number of fatalities and deaths in this country, on par with, and in some cases exceeding, the number of carbon monoxide related incidents in the UK. One reason for this is likely due to the fact that gas related tragedies in the home and commercial environments has long been recognised and publicised as a health risk. In addition industry has embraced legislation to affect changes that have saved many lives. Water safety on the other hand can be overlooked by both installers and homeowners who often do not realise the potential dangers of not properly managing water temperatures and bacteria.

At the CIPHE, we make a point of discussing water safety issues with our members, manufacturers, consumer organisations and trade bodies. After all, it is the job of the plumbing and heating industry, as a whole, to stamp out unscrupulous work. Only through education and bringing issues like water safety to the attention of the entire supply chain can we make progress and prevent the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of those using hot water systems which aren’t safe or suitable for them – this includes vulnerable users as well as the public at large. What we must remember is that nobody is exempt from the dangers of scalding and Legionaries’ disease, so the only real option is to ensure that the right steps are taken to actively stamp out the risk.

What can be done?

The reality is that there is lots that can be done to ensure water safety is front of mind – namely this can be achieved through education and ensuring that installers have access to relevant safety information and resources. This is vital to helping plumbing and heating professionals keep up to date with the latest standards and preventative measures covering water safety.

A part of this is addressing skills early on. Plumbing apprenticeships 100 years ago used to be seven years long; 50 years ago it was five years long; now there are schools of thought that specify just two years as being sufficient. This decrease in training, along with advancements in product technology, gives rise to the concern that not all of the trade can be fully competent.

Further, when you compare the level of mandatory training gas installers must undertake, for example the 5-6 days of training required each year under the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) in order to renew their licence every five years, unfortunately water safety just doesn’t have the same level of training required. As an industry, water regulations were produced back in 1999 with training happening on a voluntary basis. Therefore, the reality for water safety and training under current schemes means installers are under no obligation to update their skills. This is where the CIPHE and like-minded organisations come in to put pressure on current ways of working and encourage members to make a change.

The CIPHE’s CPD Charter is designed to ensure that skills, based on agreed competency requirements, are supported and met by plumbing and heating professionals who undertake training. The idea is that the public will benefit directly by professionals updating their skills on topics such as water safety on a regular basis. Our view is that professionals may have undertaken training at the very beginning of their career and if work isn’t done to support the ongoing development of skills, the industry will move on without them.

It is evident that a greater skilled workforce for installation and maintenance of hot water systems is needed, which is why I urge trade professionals to become involved with the CIPHE and take advantage of all the resources we have to offer.

For more information about water safety, to request the CIPHE’s Safe Water Guide, and for membership enquiries, please email: info@ciphe.org.uk or call 01708 472791.

R M Labels Water Labelling

At R M Labels we have a comprehensive range of products for marking up water pipework and systems; if you need help selecting the right product for the job, give us a call on 01348 840 675 and we will be happy to assist.

 

 

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For Plumbing and Heating Engineers that like to go the extra mile

Here’s a little idea for Plumbing and Heating Engineers that like to go the extra mile.

Try this quick and easy way to pick up extra work without having to be the hard salesman. And your customers will love you for it!!

Click here to view the Valve Tags

Once you have marked up your customer’s isolation valves and stopcocks, your details will always be at hand for whenever they need to get in touch. Putting the valve tags on all the isolation valves and stopcocks means that in an emergency your customers will be able to quickly contact you and will be eternally grateful if you have talked them through what they need to do to avoid a disaster. But more importantly for you, you will be the first person they call when they are thinking of having any new work done.

Valve Tags for pipework and valves
Valve Tags for pipework and valves

We asked some members of the public if they thought this service would be useful and if it was something they would be prepared to pay for.

Here is what they had to say:

If you haven’t used these Valve Tags before, why not try the Valve Tag Special Offer for new customers and have your details printed on the tags for free!

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Safe Electrical Isolation of Gas Appliances

 

Dont’t Ignore The Electrics

This article was spotted in the ‘Your Views’ section of HVP:

“The Gas Safe Register Technical Bulletin (TB) 118 issued in July last year, quite rightly intimated that all engineers working on electrical appliances should be working under the Health & Safety at Work Regulations and more specifically the Electricity at Work Regulations.

This TB would appear to go some way in helping our industry take a safer approach to working on electrical appliances, or at least it would if it had reached more than a handful of engineers. Speaking to the gas engineers coming through our gas centre at Sterling Assessment Services on a daily basis, I can honestly say that all who were asked had no knowledge of this

Don't Ignore The ElectricsTB – and there lies the problem. I am sure that employers and engineers alike will have skipped over this TB due to its title and content: ‘Safe electrical isolation of gas appliances’.

In our experience, as an industry we have predominantly ignored: temporary continuity bonding, safe isolation of electrical appliances and basic fault finding practices. I will at this point apologise to those gas engineers/companies out there who do take this matter seriously, but in our experience you are in the minority. This approach can obviously lead to serious injury, or even death, along with possible prosecution and civil action against employers and employees who ignore legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.

A gas boiler is a 240V-AC electrical appliance with a large metallic surface area, along with numerous internal AC and DC electrical components, some of which can be as high as 325V-DC. With this in mind, surely it is inconceivable that engineers would proceed to put their hands in and around these appliances on a daily basis without first using basic electrical safety checks and the safe isolation procedures required by legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.

To this end, NICEIC has recently released a fully accreditied training and assessment program for gas engineers which guides them through basic electrical science, such as: safe isolation, how boilers/systems work and fault finding and testing. This will enable gas engineers and employers of gas engineers to keep up to date with the current electricity at work regulations while up-skilling themselves and their workforce on the fault finding techniques. This course will also allow gas engineers to use the latest up-to-date electrical testing equipment.” Julian Hearn, Sterling Assessment Services

Here is the Gas Safe Register Technical Bulletin 118

NICEIC: Electrical Regulations Explained

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BS 1710:2014 Specification for Identification of Pipelines and Services

All pipework containing water should be clearly marked to show where the water comes from and whether it is potable or non-potable, to avoid

R M Labels Full Colour Banding for Water Pipework
Full banding by R M Labels Limited for pipework containing water

contamination of drinking water. This is clearly described in the BS 1710:2014 specification for Identification of Pipelines and Services. Below is an extract from the BSI (British Standard Institution) website giving an overview of the revisions that came into effect in 2014:

BS 1710 specifies the colours and other information that should be used to identify pipes, ducts and electrical conduits.

As the last version of the standard was published in 1984, it is long out of date. There was a particular need to update the coding system for the water supply industry, where alternative water reuse systems are becoming more popular – and where alterations can lead to contaminated drinking water if the content of different pipes is not explicit.

BSI has now fully revised the standard. Among other things, the new version:

  • Refines the labelling system to aid identification
  • Simplifies identification in building and water systems
  • Introduces a new three-size methodology to accommodate the full range of fluid services
  • Removes ship systems, which are now covered in BS ISO 14726

BS 1710:2014 will support the legal requirement for those who install and use plumbing systems to prevent cross contamination.

More broadly the new standard will be of interest to building designers, operators, users and service installers, and a wide variety of associated industries and activities including waste, water, liquid fuels, gases, and refrigeration.

Pipe Markers to BS 1710 2014
Pipe Markers to BS 1710 2014 by R M Labels Limited

There are many products available for marking up pipework and the associated valves for both commercial and domestic properties, such as pipe identification tape, pipe banding, pipe markers and valve tags.

 

British Standards Institution: www.bsigroup.com

BSI: 1710:2014 Specification for Identification of Pipelines and Services

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Saving Water Tips

Following on from yesterday’s post regarding reducing water use, here are some top tips we have come across to help consumers save water:

  • Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute.
  • Purchase a water efficient dual flush toilet, which has a split flush button giving the user the choice of how much water to use – this will be typically 4-6 litres of water opposed to the old style flush systems which use a massive 13 litres per flush.
  • Try to avoid flushing away cotton wall or make-up tissues.  Not only can these items block the system, simply throwing them in a bin will cut down
    Saving Water Tips
    Saving Water Tips

    on the amount of water wasted with every flush.

  • A bath typically uses around 80 litres, whilst a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount.  But beware, since many power showers may actually use more than a bath.
  • Switch to a low flow aerated shower head which reduces the amount of water used by mixing air in with the water to still give the same pressure and feel as a normal shower.
  • Don’t leave the shower running before you get in and try to keep track of the time you spend in the shower by setting a timer alarm on your mobile phone.
  • Take shallower baths – by running a bath just an inch shorter than usual, you can save on average 5 litres of water.
  • You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.

And Another Water Saving Tip!

R M Labels Stopcock Label
Use R M Labels Mains Water Stopcock valve tag to identify your stopcock so that it can quickly be turned off in an emergency and save wasted water

If you have a water leak in your home, how quickly can you locate your mains water stopcock and isolate the water supply? Knowing immediately where the stopcock in located could save litres of wasted water and also save endless damage to your home.  Seeing a Mains Water Stopcock label hanging on the valve will continually remind you and your family of where it is located and if an emergency arises you will be able to go straight to it and turn it off.  Many plumbing and heating professionals are already installing these labels as part of their service and putting their details on the reverse of the label, so that the homeowner can quickly and easily get in touch in an emergency.

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Rainwater harvesting and reducing water use

In the UK, one third of all domestic water is used for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets, watering gardens and use in washing machines and does not need to be of drinking quality. Rainwater harvesting makes both financial and environmental sense providing an easy and efficient way to collect rainwater for reuse in and around the home.

Almost a fifth (18%) more of UK consumers are now actively taking action when it comes to cutting back on water consumption compared to this time last year – an enormous rise in just 12 months.

R M Labels labelling for harvesting rainwater
Harvesting rainwater

With more rainwater harvesting solutions being installed in properties, it is important to remember that all associated pipework should be clearly labelled to avoid cross contamination with the drinking water supply.  We are continually helping our customers understand the labelling options available for rainwater harvesting products. These products and the supporting pipework should be clearly labelled up as non potable water from any other source to the latest British Standard BS 1710 2014 requirements for water in the correct colours and sizes.

R M Labels labelling for Harvested Rainwater
R M Labels labelling for Harvested Rainwater

We are always happy to discuss your requirements and offer help choosing the correct labelling solution for your job.

 

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Choosing the right product for the job

There are a large variety of products available for marking up pipework and sometime it is hard to know which product is the most suitable. Detailed below are some of the options available to you:

Pipe Markers
A quick and cost effective solution for marking up pipework that does not require full banding. We have a large range of standard self-adhesive pipe markers to choose from and each marker has an arrow either end allowing you to cut off one arrow, leaving the remaining arrow to indication the direction of flow. You can also add your own text to the pipe markers. Available in three sizes to suit all pipe diameters. The Water Pipe Markers are colour banded for water from the Public Water Supply or Any Other Source and for Potable or Non Potable Water. All of the Pipe Marker colours comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe Markers

Pipe Banding
Ideal if you need to mark up pipework with full colour banding. Each piece of banding is available in three sizes to suit all pipework diameters and is long enough to wrap around the pipe. The banding comes with descriptive text viewable from any direction and includes directional arrows, saving time building up full banding with individual rolls of tape. All of the Pipe Banding colours comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe Banding

Pipe Identification Tape
A cost effective way to mark up large areas of pipework. Choose from the comprehensive ranges of 50mm wide text tapes and coloured Pipe ID Tapes. The coloured tapes are available in three sizes and can be used together with the text tapes and directional arrow tapes to create full banding to the British Standard requirements. All of the colours for Pipe ID Tapes comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe ID Tapes

Engraved Labels and Discs
Produced using a high quality traffolyte engraving laminate, these products are hardwearing and ideal for use in commercial situations such as boiler houses and plant rooms. The standard 42mm diameter discs come complete with chrome plated fixing chains and are ideal for marking up valves; other disc sizes are available. The engraved labels are available in any size and come with screw holes or a self-adhesive backing. View the Engraved Labels and Discs

Valve Tags
These credit card sized durable plastic labels are suitable for domestic use. There is a complete range of standard tags for marking up all of the system’s pipework and valves, including tags for plumbing, heating, oil, gas, solar and reclaimed water. Each tag comes complete with a plastic cable tie. View the Valve Tags

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Understanding banding for pipework containing water

We have found that we are receiving lots of enquiries regarding the BS 1710:2014 requirements for water pipe banding, with many people being unclear on the colour coding required.  Below is a brief description of the BS requirements which may be of help.  We would however recommend contacting the British Standard office or your local water authority for full details.  Since 2014 the British Standard Regulations recommend that all pipework containing water should be clearly banded to denote where water is derived from and whether it is potable or non-potable.  The basic identification colour Green 12-D-45 is still used for the outside bands, together with the centre band being in the safety or code colour Auxiliary Blue 18-E-53 if the water is derived from the Public Water Supply. However, if the water is derived from Any Other Source, ie. a borehole, the centre band should be in the safety or code colour Flint Grey 00-A-09.  In addition, if the water is non-potable (not suitable for drinking) it should have the additional centre band in the safety/code colour Black 00-E-53. This also applies to pipework for Fire Safety systems that contain water and should follow the same format as above, but these have an additional centre band in the safety/code colour Red 04-E-53.  All safety and code colours should be of equal widths and to the minimum requirements for the pipe diameter including any lagging, as detailed in the BSI Standards Publication ‘Specification for identification of pipelines and services’ BS 1710:2014.

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Do your customers know how to find their valves?

valve-tagsGive your customers peace of mind.  Label up their valves so that if they have a water leak or think they can smell gas they know where to turn off their stopcock or gas valve, saving valuable time in an emergency.

And for the ultimate customer service, put your details on the valve tag so that your customer can quickly get in touch with you.

Link to our website: www.rmlabels.com