The NHWS was devised by Water UK and EU Skills ((Energy & Utility Skills) in partnership. EU Skills, the Sector Skills Council for electricity, gas, waste management and water industries introduced a new skills registration scheme for the water industry. It is estimated that there are around 8,500 operatives working in the water industry. The Network Construction Operations (Water) Scheme supports the registration of individuals so that they are able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, competence and awareness in areas such as water mains construction, entry into confined spaces and water hygiene. New entrants to the industry will be required to register in conjunction with their NVQs and registration under the scheme will be renewable 5 yearly through appropriate continuing employment or evidence of additional relevant training.
A critical issue which emerged during the consultation process throughout the industry was the desire for operators to have a consistent level of health and safety awareness. The purpose of this new NWHS scheme is to establish a UK-wide water industry approach to the training, registering and monitoring of the hygiene requirements of employees, contractors and suppliers. Each UK water company is required to ensure that employees, contractors and suppliers who operate within drinking water environments are not carriers of waterborne diseases and that they have an understanding of the need to operate hygienically. Historically each water company operated its own specific scheme which may not have been recognised by other water companies. The new scheme reduces this duplication. The new scheme ensures that training given to all individuals is to the same standard and comprises national health screening process, standard training package and nationally recognised testing process.
All new entrants to the water industry who are expected to come into contact with potable water are to use the scheme after 1 April 2006. Existing operatives had until the end of 2006 to comply. ATi is keen to promote compliance with this new directive and recognizes that issues of safety and hygiene are crucial in the water industry.
Mike Strahand, General Manager Europe at ATi, comments: “The emphasis of the scheme is to promote individual responsibility within the water industry to protect public health. If any operative comes into contact with a water borne disease which is a danger to public health they have a duty to inform their line manager. ATi has confidence that the training our employees receive is consistent across the water industry and we are happy to play a part in building an industry community which will identify employers future skill needs and provide effective solutions to improve business performance. ATi is always keen to endorse and promote water industry initiatives that benefit its members and increase safety and health.”