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Repairing Leaks, the Environment and Health and Safety


Introduction

Non-salty water, or freshwater, is one of the most important commodities in the world. Despite two thirds of the earth's surface being covered in water, only a small proportion of the total water on the earth is freshwater which is suitable for drinking, as the majority is salt water in the ocean which is not suitable for mammals and other species. Therefore humans, like a lot of other creatures, depend upon freshwater to drink and sustain life, and is why the conservation and use of water is one of the most pressing environmental concerns in the world today.

Many hot countries in the world near the equator suffer greatly from a lack of available clean drinking water, and for them conserving every drop is crucial. Even in more tepid climates like those found in European countries where freshwater is more in abundance, there can still be times of drought where water is scarce and hosepipe bans are put into place, with water rationing rare but not unheard of in severe instances.

So whichever country a person lives in, the conservation of water is an important issue. Whilst some are lucky enough for it only to be a financial matter if a leaking tap or pipe is providing them with a bigger water bill than it could be, for others it may ultimately be a matter of life and death. Either way, it is an issue of great magnitude in the world as a whole.

Whilst a lot of water is wasted by people using more than they need, such as through actions like keeping taps running whilst they brush their teeth for instance, leaking pipes and dripping taps can also contribute to a tremendous volume of useable water being lost. This will result in more water being required from a reservoir, which will also need to be treated to make it safe to drink. This can result in drought which has wide-ranging environmental effects on people, wildlife, crop irrigation, watersports activities and the destruction of small ecosystems.



Can Leaks be a Health and Safety Danger?

There is also a possibility that leaks can create a danger to the health and safety of people depending upon certain conditions such as:


1) Although the term "leak" conjures up images of a tiny trickle, it could also be applied to a substantial flow which may result in flooding, particularly if the pipe or container is becoming structurally weak and a small hole or crack will soon become a gaping hole. If so, this could create a threat of drowning if a person were to get stuck or trapped.


2) In cold weather, a leak which results in water all over the floor or ground could freeze and become extremely slippery, posing a slip and fall danger.


3) The actual substance that is leaking can obviously have an impact on health and safety. In this article we have talked about water, but leaking pipes and containers can also contain hazardous substances such as acid, antifreeze or supercooled liquid such as liquid nitrogen. This in itself can pose a significant danger to a person were it to come into contact with their skin.


4) Secondary problems can also arise from leaks, most specifically from machinery which relies on the liquid to perform a function such as lubrication or acting as a coolant. If this is not present, the machine can malfunction, catch fire, explode, or any number of other disastrous consequences which can cause injury, illness or death.




Related Course

Please see below for more information on the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate:

NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate, or NEBOSH National Certificate in Environmental Management to give it its full title, is an environmental health and safety course which is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who are responsible for managing environmental issues at their workplace.

The NEBOSH Environmental Certificate qualification focuses on UK law, so is really only suitable for those who are based and operate within the UK.

Click Here for More Information


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