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.

 

 

Back to main site: www.rmlabels.com

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

Back to main site: www.rmlabels.com