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Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/Drinking potable water in the operating suite

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I bring my own closed water bottle into the operating area (not into individual operating rooms).  I need to drink a substantial quantity of water per day and going to the break room that often just won't work out.  We have a drinking fountain in the operating room area (in one of the hallways) but again, going to the drinking fountain repeatedly is inconvenient and disruptive.  My closed water bottle is not unlike all the other closed water bottles we use in the operating rooms.  I have not been provided with an explanation of why I cannot bring water with me.

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Subject: Drinking potable water in the operating suite

Question: I bring my own closed water bottle into the operating area (not into individual operating rooms).  I need to drink a substantial quantity of water per day and going to the break room that often just won't work out.  We have a drinking fountain in the operating room area (in one of the hallways) but again, going to the drinking fountain repeatedly is inconvenient and disruptive.  My closed water bottle is not unlike all the other closed water bottles we use in the operating rooms.  I have not been provided with an explanation of why I cannot bring water with me.

Answer: From a safety and OSHA standpoint all that is required is that suitable drinking water be available. Normally regulations do not speak to the form (water bottles vs. drinking fountains) etc. I would imagine the rules have been instituted as a part of procedures meant to reduce the possibilities of contamination either way or other issues such as spills, breakage, etc.. This is certainly their right as long as suitable water is available although an explanation would be nice and makes for improved employee morale. There may have been problems in the past regarding the type of water bottle used by someone that led to a total ban. Sometimes a total ban is easier on all than trying to regulate the size, shape, material and other potential issues. Sometimes it seems that as fast as you deal with a potential problem someone finds a way around your efforts. Thus a total ban is necessary to resolve the issue. I hope that someone on the staff will take the time and effort to explain to you the issues being addresses and give you a chance to express your views. That would seem the best you can expect. If I can be of any further assistance in this matter, please feel free to ask.

Michael Brown, CSP Retired

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

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Mike Brown CSP Retired

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I specialize in the professional management of occupational safety and health as well as workers` compensation to reduce losses and improve production and address related issues through a comprehensive approach by senior management using proven principals.I worked for over twenty (20) years in the management of occupational safety, health and workers` compensation and safety training (Retired from employment in 1996 due to a stroke, which prevented the extensive travel required).

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