Pool Safety Operating Procedures

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The swimming pool and associated plant and facilities (such as the changing rooms, showers, pumps, filters etc.) should be operated and managed according to a robust set of procedures that have been devised following a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the hazards and risks that are present.  These procedure are referred to as the Pool Safety Operating Procedures (PSOP) and are comprised of two sections, the Normal Operating Procedures (NOP) and the Emergency Action Plans (EAP). These are discussed in more detail below.

Normal Operating Procedures

These procedures set out how the pool should operate under normal day-to-day conditions. The following types of information should be included:

  • Pool dimensions
  • Features and equipment (such as flumes etc.)
  • Rescue equipment
  • Location of pool alarms
  • Floor plan of pool and pool hall
  • Potential hazards
  • Access and restrictions
  • Bathing loads
  • Diving policy
  • Vulnerable swimmers
  • Lifeguarding procedures
  • Pool rules
  • Cleaning procedures
  • Hiring procedures
  • Accident reporting

Emergency Action Plans

These set out the actions to be taken for the range of reasonably foreseeable emergency scenarios. Examples of those that should be included are included here and some are discussed in more detail below:

  • Fire
  • Gas escape
  • Chemical spill
  • Structural failure
  • Bomb threat
  • Power failure
  • Pool rescue
  • Evacuation of disabled users
  • Overcrowding
  • Contamination of pool water
  • Disorderly behaviour
  • Sexual assault
  • Flooding

Fires and Explosions

The risk of fire and explosion in pool plant rooms is particularly high due to the chemical properties of the chemicals involved. A thorough and robust fire and explosion risk assessment must be carried out. Good prevention management strategies, including training of staff, correct storage of chemicals etc. will go a long way to reducing the risk. Emergency situations should be thought about in advance, and procedure for dealing with them should be practiced regularly. The fire service will need to be made aware of the chemicals that are stored on the premises, so it would be a good idea to prepare a file in advance to hand over to the fire service in the event of an emergency.

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