Unison Glasgow Clyde & CVS Branch 

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Drinking Water Concerns

Posted by wgaffney@unisonglasgowclyde.com on August 21, 2019 at 9:15 AM

Matt McLaughlin UNISON Regional Organiser, has contacted the director of estates for clarity on the current drinking water situation. Below is a copy of the email. We will update members when we receive a response:


Dear Tom,


I have received a significant number of contacts from UNISON members and activists concerning the Boards decision to remove drinking water coolers from the workplace, on the basis that the ‘tap’ in these coolers represents a risk to health from infection control and the nature of stored, uncirculated water similarly presents risks to health.


I appreciate that this is based on a Sc Gvt directive and appears linked to concerns over infection control. However in terms of my own investigations (all be it quick) I am not convinced that NHSGGC has net its obligations in respect of the HSWA to properly consult with unions.


More critically, I understand that the Boards position is to advise staff to fill drinking bottles from cold taps in local workplaces.


This raises a number of immediate concerns:


1) Can you assure me that every cold tap, in every workplace in NHSGGC is supplied by potable mains water?


2) If there are concerns over infection control due to water cooler taps – how does filling from a sink/basin tap achieve a safer/lower risk


3) What consultation has taken place with unions


4) What advice has been issued to staff – I understand that in some areas staff have been told to bring in their own bottled water – will you be picking up the expense of this?


5) Whilst there are taps with potable water, I understand that in some areas, on some sites, the water is not always palatable. What steps have been taken to identify these areas and what advice has been issued?


6) What is the water testing regime and will it be increased to ensure water quality remains high?


7) What is the impact on sites where we share with other partners i.e. city council


If water from mains taps is the preferred solution, we call upon NHSGGC to undertake a rapid assessment and roll out of drinking water taps – which results in at least one tap for every 50 workers being identified and signposted as ‘safe to drink’ across all of our establishments


Further we expect that NHSGGC will work with UNISON to identify areas where water is safe but not palatable to ensure a sensible outcome.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Matt McLaughlin

UNISON Scotland


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