Pool and Playground Safety
May 31, 2012
With Summer upon us, hopefully your park will soon be full of holiday makers ready to relax so it’s important to ensure your guests are safe in all areas of your park. In this article William Morris, Health & Safety Consultant at Wilby Ltd, discusses two key areas that parks need to focus on to prevent accidents and ensure that, if they do occur, they have sufficient evidence to defend any subsequent claims.
Playground equipment safety
Most caravan parks have outdoor children’s play equipment and, whilst these are fantastic for keeping children visiting the park happy, they also carry the potential for an accident and also a dreaded claim against the park.
It is therefore important that the equipment is professionally checked and certified as being safe at the beginning of each season. If any parts are found to be defective these should be repaired / replaced as soon as possible and access to the area restricted until the repairs have been effected. It is also very useful to keep accurate records of this process as it can be used as part of your defence if a child is subsequently injured using the equipment.
However, it is important to remember that the annual inspection of play equipment is only part of the story. In order to defend any potential actions you need to demonstrate a robust system of checking and reporting. In essence you need to create a weekly checklist for the play equipment which can record/report faults and also the action taken to rectify any such faults.
Many of you will already be carrying out such inspections but unfortunately, unless you document such checks, your defence is seriously undermined by the lack of documentation. If you have up to date inspection and rectification records you will be able to demonstrate that the equipment was in correct working order at the time of the incident which gives your insurers the chance to defend any action brought against you with regards to play equipment.
It is also useful to take photographs of the equipment on a regular basis as this will demonstrate the condition of the equipment at a given time which may help to refute any allegations that the accident was caused by certain parts of the equipment being missing.
Unfortunately if you haven’t documented your checks and actions then you haven’t done them in the eyes of the law.
Swimming Pool Safety
Each year there are tragic stories of accidents in and around swimming pools which, all too often, lead to fatalities. Parks with swimming pools must ensure they do all they can to prevent pool incidents, not only because of the human suffering involved but also because of the negative publicity that naturally surrounds these events which, of course, can be massively damaging to a park's reputation and can potentially lead to prosecution and large fines.
Although there are no specific “Swimming Pool Regulations”, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has produced an excellent guidance document “Managing health & safety in swimming pools (HSG 179)’’ which sets a standard that enforcement authorities would use when assessing a pool operator’s safety management. Each swimming pool should have a written Pool Safety Operating Procedure (PSOP), which should include two key documents detailed in the guidance.
Normal Operating Procedure (NOP)
The NOP should set out the way a pool operates on a daily basis. It should include details of the layout, equipment, manner of use, user group characteristics and any hazards or activity-related risks.
The NOP can be used to explain the pool operator’s strategy with regard to supervision and the provision or absence of lifeguards on a continual basis. There is a well laid out flowchart, within the guidance, for working through the key factors which determines the need, or otherwise, for constant poolside supervision.
Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
The EAP should give specific instructions on the action to be taken by all staff in the event of any emergency such as a serious injury to a bather, disorderly conduct, overcrowding or emission of toxic gases.
Staff must not only be aware of the NOP and the EAP but also should be instructed, and trained, in implementing these procedures.
Swimming pool operators should regularly review the NOP and EAP to ensure they are kept up-to-date and continue to be relevant.
Wilby Ltd’s Risk Management consultants have worked with clients in devising or reviewing pool safety operating procedures for their swimming pools. If you would like assistance with your PSOP or feel you would benefit from an audit of your swimming pool safety management, in line with the guidance in HSG 179, please contact William.firstname.lastname@example.org
on 01422 358 525