Creating a Safer Pool Area.
CREATING A SAFER POOL AREA
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children aged 1–14 years, and it is imperative that measures are taken to foster a safe environment for any children that might be using the pool. This could come in the form of providing readily available life jackets for children, addressing any walking surfaces that could become slippery, and posting clear signage regarding safety rules.
It is essential to check with your state or local authorities to determine if you are meeting all laws and codes for swimming pools. Safety information should always be shared with maintenance personnel, swimming pool attendants, and all management staff. At least one employee should be responsible for pool safety while it is open for use and should be on site during hours of operation. Additionally, community associations should have established policies or codes of conduct for pool use. Enforcing these rules, as well as executing the proper punitive actions when the rules are not followed, is necessary to provide a safer environment.
POOL SAFETY TIPS
Although most pool accidents never exceed anything more than a few bumps and bruises, more severe and permanent injuries — such as drownings, spinal damage, or illness due to bacteria in the pool water — can occur if proper precautions are not taken. For this reason, we have compiled a few simple tips to ensure that lax pool safety standards don’t lead to unwanted liability claims.
1. SAFE WALKING SURFACES
Inspect the walking surfaces around the swimming pool area to make sure that they are level and slip resistant. Consider applying slip-resistant surface material to any high-traffic areas.
2. INSTALL SAFE DRAIN COVERS
Make sure that all drain covers comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, and are equipped with anti-entrapment devices. Keep in mind drain covers have a 5-year life span and should be replaced prior to expiration date.
3. INSTALL STEP LADDERS
At least one step ladder should be available at either end of the pool for entry and exit purposes. An anti-slippage surface should be applied to each step or rung.
4. CLEARLY MARK POOL DEPTH
If the pool depth is greater than 5’, the threshold should be clearly marked along the bottom of the pool with a painted or tiled line in a color contrasting the color of the pool bottom. It is also recommended to mark the "deep end" outside of the pool or along the walking surface.
5. CLEARLY POSTED SIGNAGE
Make sure signage is clearly posted stating the pool rules, such as:
6. LIFESAVING EQUIPMENT
The swimming pool area should be equipped with readily available lifesaving equipment, such as a shepherd’s hook, ring buoy, and a first-aid kit.
7. POOL FENCING
The pool should be surrounded on all sides by a fence with a minimum height of 48 inches. The gate should be self-closing, self-latching, and lockable. It is also recommended that the Pool Safety Rules (Tip #5) be clearly posted on the gate for those entering the pool.
8. WATER TREATMENT AND POOL INSPECTION
Protect pool users from bacterial and viral infections by training staff on testing and maintaining the required chlorine and PH levels each day.
9. REQUIRE TRAINING FOR STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS
Implement a training program for property members, staff, and the board on pool safety rules and local code requirements that stresses the importance of maintaining a safe pool area by enforcing the rules and regulations for all residents and guests.
Require staff to document when they enforce pool rules, test water, and make daily inspections. This documentation will not only provide oversight of the pool’s operation for the association, but also act as substantiating evidence of proper pool safety management should someone file a claim alleging the association was negligent in the operation of the pool.
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