Buy a Water Cooler it’s the law

According to Business Link UK employers are required to “make an accessible seated area available for staff to eat, with access to drinking water and hot drinks” (1). If employees regularly eat in the workplace they are entitled to expect an accessible area in which they can eat and if food is likely to be contaminated elsewhere (such as within a factory or workshop) they are also entitled to seating arrangements, hot drink facilities, and a way of heating food. In addition to this employers must also provide free drinking water and cups, unless the water is dispensed via a drinking fountain or similar.

Employers have a duty of care and must ensure that the water that employees have access to is free from contamination, the Health and Safety Executive website states that water maybe sourced “preferably from the public water supply…” and that “…bottled water dispensers are acceptable as a secondary supply” (2).

If water availability is dependant on delivery such as a bottled fed water cooler employers need to be careful that “there are adequate supplies, taking into consideration the temperature of the working environment and types of work activity” (3).

Manual Handling and your Water Cooler

If your staff are being asked to carry water bottles it’s important that you make them aware of the correct Manual Handling procedures possibly by sending relevant staff members on training courses, or asking your water cooler company for a Manual Handling Guide. For help with your overall health and safety risk assessment consult the Business Link website (see the list of resources below for the URL).

Hygiene and your Water Cooler

Whatever your cooler type whether its mains fed or bottle fed the machine needs to be cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis. The sanitisation process should be carried out every 3 months or sooner if there has been any known contamination of your water cooler or water machine. If your machine or cooler is left unused or left empty for a length of time then you should also sanitise the machine immediately before letting people dispense water.

When adding a new bottle to your water cooler you need to take the same kind of precautions that you would take when handling any food stuff. Ensure that your hands are clean, and that the bottle is still in date, it’s also important to ensure that the bottle is clean prior to placing it on your cooler.

Buy a Water Cooler it also helps increase staff productivity

Up to 75% of the human body is water, it helps us to digest and absorb food, carry blood around the body, and helps remove waste and toxins. Every day the body looses an average of around five pints of water. If the water that is lost is not replaced then dehydration sets in which can cause headaches, tiredness, lack of concentration, confusion and irritability not exactly ideal conditions for getting the best work out of your staff.

Find out more

If you are an employer and want to find out more about your legal obligations, or you just want more information on water please visit:





1. http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.l1=1073858799&topicId=1074469549&r.l2=1073877897&r.s=tl

SOURCED ON: 29 May 2007

2. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg293.htm

SOURCED ON: 29 May 2007

3. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg293.htm

SOURCED ON: 29 May 2007

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