In developed countries such as those that make up the United Kingdom, illnesses at work or elsewhere are rarely thought to be caused by the water supply.
However, it is easier than you might otherwise think for water to become contaminated which in turn can cause serious health problems.
Can contaminated water cause accidents at work?
Rather than accidents, contaminated water is likely to cause workplace illnesses. These can be just as worrying, debilitating and costly as physical injuries at work.
One of the more serious potential consequences of ingesting contaminated water is Legionnaires’ Disease. This is a serious lung infection which initially manifests itself as a fever, muscle pains and chills before moving on to serious chest pains and breathing difficulties.
How does water get contaminated?
The potential causes of contaminated water are many and varied. Fortunately, in the UK, we enjoy effective purifying systems and take clean water for granted. Contamination, however, can still happen.
One, perhaps lesser known, cause of contamination is room-air humidifiers.
Whilst, unless it is spectacularly unclean, humidifiers are unlikely to contaminate clean water on their own, they can exacerbate and spread existing problems.
If water is left to stand in a device that is used intermittently, such as a heated pan humidifier, then microbial growth could occur. This can then lead to contaminated micro-droplets of water being spread through the system.
How can humidifiers be prevented from causing illness at work through contaminated water?
Humidifiers become a risk when water is allowed to stand and accumulate within the device.
With this in mind, it is important that they are inspected regularly for standing water whilst the air distribution system should be closely checked for the presence of accumulated water.
Any standing water found in the system ought to be removed, as should any leaks and insulation damaged by water.
Water should be stored either side of the 20-50 degrees range to prevent bacterial growth.
What is my claim eligibility following an illness at work?
Sickness at work, be it physical or stress-related illnesses, could mean you are due some work illness compensation.
If the illness arose as a result of the mistaken actions or negligence of someone else, then you may have a strong claim.
Our legal team at Accident Advice Helpline can offer friendly and experience guidance throughout the claims process and usually settle out of court.