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How safe is your office drinking water?

Monday, 28 July 2014 - 6:06am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

A study done by pharmaceutical MBA students from MGM School of Health Management Studies reveals startling facts on drinking water pattern in corporate offices in Mumbai.

Who conducted the study?
The study, which was conducted by three girls as a college project, ended up explaining why the citizens suffer from stomach-infections throughout the year.

What's the result?
According to the results of the study, 49% of the corporate offices clean their water purifier only once a year and 72.5% admin staff think water does not cause any infection. On the other hand, 92% of the HR staff agreed that water may lead to absenteeism at work.Chaitrali Kewane, one of the researcher said, "Mumbai is known to be plagued with stomach-infection cases. Since a major chunk of a Mumbaikar's life is spent in office, we decided to understand the drinking water supply pattern followed in corporate offices."

Sample size?

The students interviewed HR managers, admin managers and employees of 52 corporate offices from Colaba, Fort, Parel, Andheri, Bandra-Kurla.

"In our study, we found that while HR department was aware of safe drinking water practices, in 88.46% corporate offices, admin took the decisions regarding drinking water suppliers. None of the corporate offices had any standard operating procedures to ensure that pure drinking water is being provided to their employees," said Jeenal Patel, the second researcher.
While 65% of the corporate offices preferred water purifiers over bottled water jars, a whopping 75% cleaned the water purifier only once a year. "One year is long enough for the purifier to get contaminated," said Patel.

What else was found?
The study also found that though quality is the most important parameter in choosing the brand for drinking water, cleanliness of the water jars was not their top priority. "During our study, we also found that no one checked if the drinking water supplier follows the statutory standards," said Dhanashri Hedau, the third researcher.
Hedau further added that none of the people they interviewed knew about how to differentiate between safe drinking water brands from brands providing substandard water.
"Employees and in-charge staff believed that they are drinking safe water but relied on third party vendors and housekeeping staff to provide them drinking water which in turns falters in the absence of SOPs and awareness," said Hedau.
The girls concluded that the worrying part of their study was that despite the want to choose and provide safe and pure drinking water to employees, majority of the corporate offices in Mumbai failed to do so because of poor awareness on what constitutes 'quality'.
Talking about the study, Dr Hemant Thacker, physician at Breach Candy Hospital, said that the admin should without fail check the source of drinking water. "Portable, clean, healthy drinking water is must to avoid stomach infections. Admins should check on that safe drinking water is supplied to the employees as it can lead to loss of crucial work hours," said Dr Thacker.

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