Swimming Pool Hazards

Poorly maintained facilities are one of the most common causes of swimming pool accidents Examples include:

  • Defective pool drainage systems
  • Defective water filtration systems
  • Excessive chemical content
  • Damaged tiles
  • Badly signposted pool depths

Some of the other main swimming pool hazards are covered below.

Contaminated Pool Water

Contaminated water in swimming pools can be a major problem because while there are various chemicals to counteract this issue, the constant introduction of new bathers can offer a potentially dangerous window of opportunity for contaminants to spread. Chlorine and other chemical disinfectants are used to combat this issue but bacteria and contaminants can reach dangerous levels on occasions.

Chemical Poisoning/Burns

Those operating swimming pool facilities should be well aware of the amount of chlorine (and other chemicals) required to ensure relatively clean water and the safety of swimmers. However, there may be occasions where a miscalculation or an unexpected spillage can introduce dangerously high chemicals into a pool. This can result in chemical burns and chlorine poisoning, generally relatively mild but will obviously depend upon the substances present.

The handling of chemicals poses additional risks, especially where it could impact members of the public and children. Therefore, there should be thorough and robust procedures to control these risks; otherwise, accidents like those involved in the case studies are likely.

Drain Suction Accidents

The water is drained, filtered, and recycled to ensure that a swimming pool is as clean as possible. These relatively strong drain suction facilities are protected by an array of covers that, when fitted correctly, ensure swimmers can safely pass over them. However, there have been instances of loose drain suction covers which have resulted in severe internal and rectal injuries. These sudden injuries can disorientate an individual and potentially lead to drowning.

Confined Spaces

Cleaning or maintenance activities may require employees or contractors to enter confined spaces. A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (for example, a pool balance tank after it is emptied) and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space (for example, lack of oxygen).

If work is required on plant or equipment in confined spaces, pool operators must have arrangements to ensure the work can be done safely. The following principles apply:

  • avoid working in a confined space whenever possible, for example, by doing the work outside;
  • follow a safe system of work if working inside;
  • make appropriate arrangements for rescue in an emergency