Making pool safety simple

Shield Safety GroupBy BHA Partner, Shield Safety Group

We say farewell to February, meaning summer is at last on the horizon. Leisure activities are accompanied with a healthy lifestyle and social benefits, particularly in the hotter months and summer holidays, however this often results in the associated dangers being forgotten.

Did you know there are approximately 10 deaths caused by drowning in swimming pools each year? (HSE, 2003).

On top of the danger of drowning, there are also increased risks due to swimming pools being a fundamentally unsafe environment. In a recent blog Making a splash with pool safety, Shield Safety discusses the accompanying hazards which include diving boards, shallow water, wet surfaces, chemicals, sudden depth change and deep water. It is therefore even more important to comply with the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the associated regulations. Although the law does not state what measures you must implement for leisure activities specifically, judgements must be made by the operator dependent on the specific risks.

The world of regulatory compliance is vast, with so many components to consider and leisure systems are no exception. So, the key to simplifying safety is to have detailed and clearly written pool safety operating procedures in place to ensure safety of employees and visitors (HSG179, Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools). This will enable operators to make a suitable assessment of the Health and Safety risks in order to manage risks in a controlled and effective way.

To ensure you have all of the adequate measures in place for day-to-day operation, your pool safety operating procedures must contain a Normal Operating Plan (NOP) and includes activities such as pool water testing, dealing with the public, backwashing and bacteriological testing. As swimming pools are such a hazardous environment, with increased risk of emergencies, you must also have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) with information on how to deal with issues like a casualty in the water, a gas leak, lighting failure and lack of water clarity. You can find out more about pool safety operating procedures in Shield Safety’s blog Introducing the PSOP pack.

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