Hydration helps to keep the immune system and cognitive functions strong, and the use of a water dispenser is a simple and convenient way to provide workplace hydration safely and hygienically.
The Water-Dispenser and Hydration Association (WHA) sets high quality standards for its Members and provides them with industry specific training, information and guidance. Members are also audited annually to ensure consumers can trust that they are sourcing high quality and sustainable products from a WHA approved supplier.
Returning staff may fear contracting Coronavirus from touching communal surfaces including those of the water dispenser. However, there is no more risk of cross contamination from a water dispenser than from doors, light switches, toilet fittings, and communal kitchens. In fact, it could be claimed that as the water dispenser has a clearly identifiable water dispensing touch point (the tap, lever or button), simple cleaning of this area before or after use, and/or washing hands after use ensures that the dispenser is one of the least risk items in a work area.
To limit the number of people using any one particular machine; providing additional areas of hydration for staff is something to be considered.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Members of the WHA have benefited from specific information relating to re-commissioning dispensers that have been unused during lockdown to ensure that Quality, Trust and Standards are maintained. This information covers company delivery vehicles, general housekeeping, safety during site visits and use of PPE. Mandatory hygiene and operational training and the annual audit process have continued throughout, but of course remotely, in line with Government guidelines.
Clients have their part to play to ensure that water dispensers remain as safe as possible.
• Staff should be made aware of social distancing around the dispenser.
• Clients could consider having additional dispensers to allow for even safer social distancing and to encourage hydration.
• Review of the location of dispensers to ensure they are in the best place for our “new” world.
• Other offerings such as hot water taps/boilers, to reduce the number of people gathering in kitchens awaiting the kettle to boil.
• Social distancing could be made clear with use of signs or floor markings by the dispensers. Barriers could be placed around the dispenser area to help with this.
• Simple regular cleaning of the water dispenser with fragrance-free food grade sanitiser as used on other office equipment is recommended.
The WHA has produced Customer Factsheets to assist your clients restart and maintain their water dispensers. These can be found on our website www.twha.co.uk/hydration.
Notwithstanding dispensers remain safe while using sensible hygiene practices, WHA manufacturer Members have been quick to develop new products which give added safety measures. These include touch-free dispensers, models with foot pedals and retro-fit foot pedals, contactless ‘hover’ buttons, sensor activated dispense and UVC-LED technology. There are even coolers that can be activated via an app, using smart bottles to manage water preferences and track hydration levels. To view these products, available through WHA Distributor Members, visit our website https://twha.co.uk/find-a-member/ for links to manufacturer websites.
We strongly recommend that when looking for hydration solutions for your clients, you place membership of the WHA as an accreditation body on your checklist of requirements in your tender documents. Quality. Trust. Standards. We are the WHA – the advantage is clear.
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