National Water Hygiene
The National Water Hygiene scheme is recognised by the UK water industry as a vital part in ensuring the protection of public health and promoting safe drinking water practices. It is a criminal offence to supply water unfit for human consumption.
Created in 2006, the ‘Blue Card’ replaced all water company specific hygiene schemes and removed the need for workers to undergo separate testing, health screening and to carry multiple cards. Water companies across the UK now mostly mandate the use of the National Water Hygiene card for anyone entering a clean water site or engaged in operations on the clean water network, whether in contact with the water or not.
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 expect 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.”
It is increasingly expected that all those handling water for human consumption, including contractors, facilities management organisations, environmental health practitioners, water engineers, plumbers etc. also carry a ‘Blue Card’ to demonstrate competence and their understanding of safe water hygiene practice.
Any person working on a restricted operations area at sites 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 be in possession of a National Water Hygiene card. The same training package is delivered to both direct employees of water companies, and all contractors that work on the restricted operations sites including self-lay organisations working on new developments.
The registration and card lasts for three years from date of training and provides on-site evidence that an individual has demonstrated an appropriate level of knowledge and awareness with regards to hygiene issues. It is also a prerequisite for many other industry competence requirements and EUSR registration schemes.
How do I get an EUSR National Water Hygiene ‘Blue Card’?
Registration is based on successful completion of a training course. Upon successful completion a cover note will be issued by the trainer and trainees will be registered on the EUSR. Once the necessary paperwork and payment have been received the National Water Hygiene card will be issued within 28 days. The training session is expected to last for approximately half a working day and comprises a trainer lead presentation, a health screening aspect and a multiple choice test. Trainees will be called upon to share their experiences and thoughts throughout to build on the course material and to identify cases of good and bad practice.
Training is delivered through a network of trainers who have been trained and approved by EUSR. All trainers deliver the same course content and testing. A list of approved trainers and training providers is available here.
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