In profile: the Water Safety Group

It is with some disbelief that we note it was 4 years ago, in 2016, that HTM 04-01 was updated, bringing with it a number of implications for training around maintaining and managing water systems in healthcare organisations.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes was the introduction of the Water Safety Group, required to ensure that appropriate expertise and competence is available for the delivery of safe water for all uses throughout an organisation. How this is achieved is for the WSG to determine.

So what is the Water Safety Group?

According to HTM 04-01:

“The WSG is a multidisciplinary group formed to oversee the commissioning, development, implementation and review of the WSP. The aim of the WSG is to ensure the safety of all water used by patients/ residents, staff and visitors, to minimise the risk of infection associated with waterborne pathogens.

It provides a forum in which people with a range of competencies can be brought together to share responsibility and take collective ownership for ensuring it identifies water-related hazards, assesses risks, identifies and monitors control measures and develops incident protocols.”

So what training do members need?

The HTM advises that

“The group should ensure that there is the appropriate expertise available to ensure that all elements of the WSP are fully implemented. This will require assurance from installers, maintainers and users with regard to the safety of all water used by patients/residents, staff and visitors, to minimise the risk of infection associated with waterborne pathogens.”

Members of the Water Safety Group who, in relation to their roles and responsibilities for managing and monitoring the implementation of the Water Safety Plan, need to have information and training on the wider aspects of water safety, the development of the Water Safety Plans, and the need for a supporting programme of training.

Where is this training available?

It may surprise you know that we’re going to say Eastwood Park! Our Water safety and hygiene for the water safety group course was designed to meet the needs of members of the Water Safety Group to gain an understanding of the management of water distribution systems and associated plant and equipment.

This ensures patient, visitor, and staff safety in respect of the microbiological, physical, and chemical risks associated with the water systems, and the application of statutory and best practice guidance.

Is there anything else I need to know?

It is worth noting HTM 04-01 also states that

“The WSG should implement a programme of staff training to ensure that those appointed to devise strategies, carry out control measures and undertake associated monitoring are appropriately informed, instructed and trained.”

However we are keen to emphasise that the HTM also says “although training is an essential element of ensuring competence, it should be viewed within the context of experience, knowledge and other personal qualities that are needed to work safely.”

Eastwood Park Training has developed courses aimed specifically at delivering the training requirements healthcare organisations need to meet the guidelines in HTM 04-01, and provide a supporting programme of suitable training. The aim is to provide high quality training for all staff with responsibilities for the development of Water Safety Plans, policies, procedures, standard operating procedures, maintenance, installation, testing, and monitoring.

See available water hygiene training here.

For advice, a training audit/assessment, or to discuss your next steps for water training for your organisation following the impact of HTM 04-01, call +44 (0)1454 262777 or email us.

All quotes taken from Chapter 6 Health Technical Memorandum 04-01: Safe water in healthcare premises – Part B: Operational management.