Water coolers are a great way to keep your employees hydrated.
The problem appears when the cleanliness of these water coolers is not maintained, which makes the dispensed water unhealthy to drink.
If not cleaned, the water cooler dispenser gathers microorganisms which contaminates the water when an employee releases it from the cooler.
Letting your employees drink such water may worsen their health, which may increase the number of sick leaves, decrease employee productivity, or increase their level of dissatisfaction at work.
That’s not the company’s desired outcome. You want your people to be healthy.
That means providing a safe working environment including clean drinking water.
In the below workplace hygiene tips, you'll find ideas about how to maintain the office water cooler free of germs.
Heterotrophic place count (HPC) is a method used to measure the overall bacteriological quality of drinking water in public, semi-public and private water systems.
Studies found that, in 30% of tested water coolers, the HPC exceeded the water quality standard.
This means that making sure the water from the cooler is safe to drink it needs to be regularly cleaned.
The duty to maintain the water cooler clean
Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1992, the employer is responsible for providing an adequate supply of drinking healthy water, which also means that the company must maintain the office cooler hygiene.
Health officials recommend to clean the water cooler when the water in the bottle is finished and it needs to be replaced.
In such a way, the water dispenser is kept free of mold and bacteria providing your staff with fresh and healthy water.
The enemies of office water cooler
The water cooler has enemies all around the office. These enemies create conditions where waterborne germs may flourish.
So, take them into consideration when maintain the cleanliness of the water cooler in the office.
If the water bottle is directly exposed to sunlight this heat it up and algae may develop in it.
Though the algae are harmless it may still affect the taste of water.
To avoid this, move the water cooler to a more shaded spot in the office.
Contrary to the above point, it is a bad idea to place the water cooler in a humid area of the office.
These areas are poorly ventilated, which creates perfect environments for germs development.
A more hygienic place for the water cooler to be installed is close to an open window or in a well-ventilated room.
Like any furniture, the water cooler in the office gathers dust.
Install it in a place where the floor is washed regularly and wipe the surface of the water cooler once in a while.
Designate someone to clean your water cooler
In the video below, you'll see a quick demonstration how to quickly sanitize the water cooler.
Ensuring that the water cooler is installed in a hygienic area of the office is one thing. Another thing is maintaining that area clean.
That's why it's also important to consider other hygiene practices in the workplace.