‘Poor staff communication’ a factor in swimming pool safety errors

hSwimming pool owners should include staff communications in their annual reviews of water safety, according to air and water services specialists Airmec.
Different working patterns and practices mean that there is often little interface between poolside staff and the facilities managers and engineering teams. This can lead to mistaken assumptions about who does what and can increase the risk of mistakes and omissions, comments Airmec.
“We have seen the widespread disconnect between poolside operational staff and ‘back room’ technical teams, even for very small pools, and our aim is to bridge that gap,” said Airmec managing director Andrew Steel.
“Unless each has knowledge of what the other does, and a clear understanding of their own specific responsibilities, there is a risk of errors and omissions. The most likely omissions are logging of incidents and how they have been resolved – and that alone is quite sufficient to attract an expensive intervention by enforcing bodies, local authorities and the HSE.”
There are no health and safety laws specific to swimming pools but operators must comply with their general oblligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Bather load and turnover

Water treatment systems, however, are complex, involving issues like bather load and turnover, and they are inextricably linked with the need for adequate ventilation.
All of this calls for specific expertise, and guidance on managing water quality and treatment has been drawn up by the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG).
The HSE enforcing authorities – local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive – consider this guidance as the standard to be achieved in effectively managed swimming pools
A key PWTAG recommendation is that pool managers should review their water safety plan, swimming pool water treatment system and the pool hall ventilation, heating and electrical system (SPTO) at least annually.
Airemec, which has expertise in both water and air treatment on both private and public sector organisations, is the partner of choice for a growing number of pool operators, places great emphasis on resources and processes that encourage comprehensive record-keeping by pool staff.
The PWTAG Code of Practice provides pool operators with a structured plan for the technical operation of their pool. It is under constant review and was most recently updated in April 2014. Airmec’s Swimming Pool Treatment & Plant Management Review can help ensure operators are up to speed with these latest PWTAG guidelines and identify opportunities for improvements to your pool environment. It will focus particularly on the roles and responsibilities within the organisation and will also:

– review monitoring procedures and associated log books;
– ascertain training awareness and competencies;
– review of all associated records and documentation for preventive and corrective actions;
– review operational procedures;
– review planned maintenance, and
– review emergency procedures and response to incidents.


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