Managing Health and Safety In Swimming Pools

Managing Health and Safety In Swimming Pools

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a new Managing Health and Safety In Swimming Pools (HSG 179) on February 2018, and this applies to all Swimming Pools including Hotel Swimming Pools.  The aim of this article is for where constant Poolside Supervision is not required.  If your risk assessment determines you need constant Poolside Supervision, then you would need to do a Pool Lifeguard and the guidance below is not appropriate. 

HSG 179, discusses Poolside Safety Operational Procedures (PSOP).  It stipulates the need for both a Normal Operating Procedure (NOP) and an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).  Additional information is given on these in paragraphs 273 - 283.  It discusses within the new HSG 179 the need for staff to receive regular training.  To facilitate this P & P Associates procedure on an annual basis, a monthly staff training plan.  This is available to all candidates, who have completed initial training with P & P Associates , and can be administered on-site by an appropriate appointed internal staff member.  In addition we require people to attend 8 hours of annual instruction by a P &P Associates member of staff.  This is either done by attending an Annual update for FAW and PER, or 2 hour training session on a quarterly basis.  If you require any further information, please let us know.

First Aid provision for users of the Swimming Pools is not covered within the First Aid at Work Qualification.  The First Aid at Work Qualification is specific to providing First Aid to employees.  The First Aid requirement of the Pool Emergency Responder (PER) provides the necessary training for the First Aid for the pool users.  The first aid within this qualifications differs to that of First Aid at Work.  

Where the Swimming Pool is not constantly supervised, the guidance discusses the actions you need to put in place to ensure effective control is maintained.  They include
Signs showing the depth of the Swimming Pool
Poolside checks at regular intervals
Suitable rescue equipment is available (torpedo buoys and throw bags)
Emergency Arrangements (i.e. alarm on Poolside)
Signs within changing rooms and on poolside saying Pool is not supervised
Control and monitoring of numbers within the Pool
Use of technology and drowning protection systems
Control of lone swimmers
Avoiding step gradients

Paragraph 113 stipulates "When the pool is in use, there must be a safe system of work to identify a person in difficulty and ensure a rescue can be performed.  For example, in the absence of lifeguards there should be designated 'on call' competent staff , to respond immediately to deal with the any emergency.  They should be suitable trained and capable reaching the poolside in time to perform a rescue and provide emergency First Aid if the alarm is raised."  This paragraph is particularly important to those who utilise the Pool Emergency Responder Qualification.  The qualification is aimed at those who do not do constant Poolside Supervision but do work within the Swimming Pool environment and can conduct a rescue.  If staff are standing on Poolside, they should complete a Pool Lifeguard Qualification, which is 36 hours of instruction.

Safety signs that need to be provided include depth, any potential hazards (i.e slippery surfaces), unsafe practices (diving into shallow water) and information of use of equipment (i.e jacuzzi or steam rooms).

New staff when joining the organisation are more likely to unaware of risks.  It is important not only to train staff, but ensure appropriate supervision is given within the first 6 months.  Additional information

Where poolside is observed by use of CCTV, it should be ensured that all parts of the pool are covered by CCTV and staff are able to recognise a casualty who is in difficulty.

If you have any further questions on Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools, please let us know on 08700772637


Paul O'Connor

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