Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are one of the many health and safety requirements that businesses need to pay careful attention to. As a central element in the overall approach to water hygiene, their practical importance is backed up by strict regulations, from health and safety to disease prevention.
Some business owners, especially those who consider water to be a non-essential element in their operations, may wonder whether they need a WSP. In most cases, businesses that operate any form of premises, even if it’s only a small office, will need to ensure that they have a water safety plan in place.
What is a water safety plan?
First, what exactly is a water safety plan? WSPs are defined under BS8680, and accordingly, must consist of a well thought out plan that defines the arrangements that are put in place to ensure ongoing management of water systems in any given premises.
It will typically include specific provisions such as a Legionella risk assessment, and more general information including any necessary equipment and systematic approaches required to ensure ongoing water hygiene.
It’s important to note that no two water safety plans will be the same – each plan needs to cater specifically to the demands and risks of a specific organisation and location. As a result, it’s generally necessary to seek professional assistance with the creation of your plan, to make sure that it doesn’t miss any potential hazards. WSPs are an ongoing process, and they will need to be adjusted as time goes by to ensure that they remain fully capable of mitigating new risks as they occur.
Why does your business need a WSP?
There are several main reasons why most businesses need a WSP.
First of all and perhaps most importantly, having a water safety plan is generally necessary in order to achieve regulatory compliance. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that businesses are legally required to ensure ongoing, accessible access to potable water to everyone who spends time on their premises. A water safety plan is generally an unavoidable step in ensuring that the water is safe for consumption.
Beyond being a legal necessity, water safety plans can be seen as a critical element in your overall approach to brand management. A well thought out water safety plan can minimise the chances of a waterborne disease outbreak – such an outbreak could have absolutely catastrophic consequences on the way that your business is perceived by the public, potentially leading to a complete breakdown in customer confidence.
In pretty much all cases, it will be necessary to seek external assistance in order to create an effective water safety plan. There are plenty of experienced water hygiene providers – make sure that you choose one with experience in similar niches to your business, and a track record of success.
As we’ve shown, in response to the question of whether your business needs a water safety plan, the answer is most often a resounding yes. From meeting regulatory requirements to managing the perception of your brand, it’s a crucial element in running a business that should never be overlooked.