The law – not always an ass
Remember that old phrase “He’s such a drip”, and its variations? It’s meant perjoratively, of course, to indicate that someone’s ‘wet’ or pathetic. But, as it turns out, it’s almost literally true: we are drips. Very nearly, anyway. All of us. That’s because the average adult human body is 57-65% water, and a newborn baby, until it’s about a year old, is up to 80% water. Which is a lot. But it’s necessary, because without a high proportion of water, our bodies just wouldn’t function – cells would die, nutrients wouldn’t be carried around, vital chemical reactions would stall, our temperature would be unregulated. In short, water’s an essential part of us, helping us to digest and absorb food, carry blood around the body, and remove waste and toxins. Every day, you lose an average of around five pints of water from your body, and if that water’s not replaced, then your body will react by pulling it from other places, including your blood. This causes the closing of some smaller vessels (capillaries), making your blood thicker, more susceptible to clotting, and harder to pump through your system. This can have serious implications, causing problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Some recent studies have also linked a lack of water to headaches, arthritis, and heartburn. No wonder it’s said that ‘Water is life’.
Given this importance of water to our health, it’s perhaps understandable that, ever since 1992, it’s been mandatory (under UK Health & Safety legislation) for all UK employers to provide easily accessible water for their staff to drink, free of charge, along with the cups to drink it from, unless the water machine in question is fitted with a drinking fountain style tap. Obviously, the water provided must be clean and free from contamination, and, according to the words of the Act, ‘...may be sourced preferably from the public water supply, though bottled water dispensers are acceptable as a secondary supply.’ However, the Act also goes on to say that, if water is sourced from a bottled water cooler, employers must ensure that ‘there are adequate supplies, taking into consideration the temperature of the working environment and types of work activity’. So, now, the question becomes: what’s the easiest way to ensure ‘adequate supplies’ of fresh, chilled, uncontaminated water? And the answer, as more and more organisations of all types are recognising, is a plumbed-in water dispensing system. Not only easier, in fact, but cheaper – by a long way. Plus, mains-fed systems offer a host of other advantages, too. We won’t list them all here, as they can easily be found elsewhere on our website - suffice to say that they’re very significant advantages.
So where does all this take us? Well, it leads us to natural and inescapable conclusion that the law, in practical terms, is recommending mains-fed water coolers in the workplace. This seems eminently sensible to us. There’s clearly at least one exception to the old saying ‘The law is an ass’!