Making a splash with pool safety

The leisure sector is wide-ranging with swimming pools, fairgrounds, cinemas, sports facilities, and play areas all being a popular choice. But these activities present a unique Health and Safety challenge, to ensure the safety of both the employees and the large numbers of customers who visit the facilities, particularly in swimming pools.

Every year, there are around 10 deaths caused by drowning in swimming pools (HSE, 2003). Drowning is a serious danger, even for those who can swim too. Leisure facility operators must comply with their general duties under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the associated regulations as there is actually no specific Health and Safety legislation for swimming pools.

Swimming pools are essentially unsafe buildings and as well as the danger of drowning, they have many features that may cause accidents to occur. These include:

  • Wet surfaces – risk of slips, trips and falls
  • Deep water – poor swimmers may get into difficulty
  • Diving boards – inadequate skill may result in injury
  • Shallow water – unauthorised diving may result in danger
  • Sudden changes in water depth not suitably signposted
  • Chemicals – if insufficiently trained, may lead to burns or dangerous gas

To minimise hazards, as well as the above legislation, HSG179 (Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools) requires all pool operators to have clearly written and detailed pool safety operating procedures in place. Operators must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the Health and Safety risks to employees and members of the public to help determine what needs to be done to stay safe. Following this, operators must implement these measures to reduce and control the risks.

The world of regulatory compliance is vast, with so many components to consider and leisure systems are no exception. However, you’re in luck because… We believe in making safety simple. And our team of Environmental Health Practitioners have written an easy-to-use and unique document to be implemented in leisure businesses.

In line with our Health and Safety Management System and Food Safety Management System, our Pool Safety Operating Procedures Pack is written with pool staff and customers in mind, to inform them of the work practices and the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency. These are essential in a Health & Safety Policy.

We recognise that different circumstances apply to different pools, so the pack can be tailor-made to your business’ exact needs. Having this pack in place ensures that you have everything you need at the touch of your fingertips. Find out exactly what’s included in our blog Introducing the PSOP pack.

We are offering businesses in leisure a FREE Fire Safety, Health & Safety and Food Safety review from one of our industry experts to review your current practices and procedures. Visit FreeReview or call us today on 020 3740 3744.

The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety advice. Shield Safety take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shield Safety services please do call our team on 020 3740 3744 or email

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