Health and safety when working near water

health and safety when working near water

Posted on 24th Oct, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham

Working on or near water certainly has its perks but putting safety first should always be a priority. There are many trades that may be exposed to water – from construction workers at ports and docks to engineers that deal with air conditioning systems. To ensure safety and wellbeing, it’s important that all employees remain aware of the risks and complete the relevant health and safety training.

What can go wrong when working near water?

workers repairing water pipe

The risks vary and include everything from slips, trips and falls to exposure to contaminated water. Some of the risks to be aware of include:

  • Slips and trips at the water’s edge
  • Moving vehicles in docks, ports and harbours
  • Unstable banks and unmarked edges
  • Drowning-related risks – such as incoming tides and rising flood waters
  • Exposure to extreme weather, whether it’s direct sunlight or cold temperatures
  • Use of electrical equipment around water, leading to electric shock
  • Contact with contaminated water
  • Manual handling hazards
  • Exposure to Legionella Bacteria

An employer’s responsibility

work accident form

It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure health and safety at work and a legal requirement thanks to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Employers have to ensure the welfare of employees at work and provide a safe working environment alongside adequate training, instruction and supervision. Depending on the job, employers may also have to provide protective clothing and equipment (PPE) to maximise employee safety.

Before beginning work, it’s important to carry out a risk assessment. You’ll need to identify any potential hazards and assess the risks – designing a safe system of working. All employees working around water will also need to be aware of the risks and properly trained in working safely around water.

Safety training for employees working near water

Legionella testing

At Browns Safety Services, we have a variety of training courses suited to employees working near water.

Our Legionella Awareness Training is a must for any tradesperson working with water systems or around natural water like ponds and lakes. Legionella can be found in both outdoor sources of water and artificial systems like air conditioning systems. Other systems that carry risk include cooling towers, spa pools, evaporating condensers and hot and cold water systems. Our Legionella Awareness Training is designed to give you a good understanding of the disease and the bacteria. Attendees will also learn about how to prevent and control the risks of Legionella.

Another safety training course ideal for those working around water is our 3 Day First Aid at Work Course. With slips and falls being a real risk, it pays to know how to manage an emergency. Our three-day course is ideal for those looking to become a fully qualified first aider. The course covers everything from major and minor wounds to unconscious casualties, burns and scolds.

If you’re looking for ways to improve safety at work, head over to our accessories page. With products to stabilise your ladder and guards to prevent unauthorised access, we make it simple to maximise safety at work.

Do you have any other health and safety tips for safe working around water? If so, share your advice with us @BrownsLadders

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