Spring is on its way! A good time to think about Water Play
Children love it, and learn so much from it, but there are practical problems to consider when planning for water play in your settings and schools.
No water point outside?
Do you have to transport water from afar?
Have you tried a camping water rolling container or rain water collected from a roof?
Is water play in your legionella assessment?
One of the things MACOL notice most often particularly in primary schools and nurseries is the tendency for water play not to feature in the sites Legionella risk assessment and whilst these activities are fairly low risk it means there may be no basic control measures in place.
Here are some simple do’s and don’ts as a guide…but first some basic principles. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the inhalation of water droplets (aerosols) by a susceptible person which are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This bacteria is naturally occurring found almost anywhere environmentally where there is a level of moisture.
However certain conditions such as stagnation, warm temperatures and the availability of nutrients such as scale and rust can help it to multiply from small to large numbers.
With this in mind here are a number of basic control measure to help you conduct wet play in a safe way:
- Always use water that is of a similar quality of that which may be drank, if it is delivered from an external tap give the tap a 30 second flush to remove any stagnant water from the pipework
- Ensure that any equipment used is cleaned and left to dry in the air. In particular; materials like sand and mud need to be cleaned off.
- If using rain water collected from a water butt it is essential that no sprays are created (the use of a watering can etc. would be ok). (Use the hose for those great fun ‘Lazy Daisies:” etc.)
- Hand washing is essential after using this type of water
- Keep some very basic records of these actions. Eg. Simple tick sheet to show that fresh water has been used, the play equipment cleaned and left to dry etc.
So, it’s really not tricky at all and most of you will be doing this anyway, but many may not have thought about keeping a record in the context of your Legionella Assessment.