For holiday park operators, adding a hot tub is an opportunity to enhance visitor appeal and to add a premium to the letting price of the accommodation. Switched on holiday sector marketers are cashing in on the popular trend with a host of websites and on-line marketing offers, highlighting the added attraction of a holiday hot tub.
Appealing to families as well as couples, for many holiday makers, having their own hot tub is the highlight of their break. Perfect any time of the year.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced guidance for the maintenance and safe installation of spa pools and hot tubs. Hot tubs and spa pools carry a high risk of infection. This is because the water is maintained at a high temperature and demand is placed onto the waters filtration system which can lead to increased microbial growth, increasing the risk of infection.
Infectious agents can be easily introduced to a spa pool or hot tub via bathers, from dirt entering the pool or from the water source itself. Once in the water, conditions often exist for these infectious agents to grow and proliferate. There have been several examples of people contracting infections from spa pools, for example, Legionnaires’ disease, and in all known cases the spa pools were not being managed as required by existing health and safety regulations and guidelines. This guidance has been produced to help managers, designers and manufacturers of spa pools and hot tubs meet their legal duties under health and safety legislation.
Spa pools and hot tubs are designed to contain water that is vigorously agitated and this leads to the formation of aerosols that can be inhaled. This means even people not in the immediate vicinity of the spa pool can breathe in the aerosol. This is particularly important with Legionella. In outbreaks, research showed that Legionella antibody levels were higher in individuals who were closer to the source of the contamination. People using the spa pool are also at risk from skin infections because prolonged immersion in warm water increases the likelihood of infectious agents entering the body via the skin.
What should you do
Under these Regulations, the manager of a spa pool is required to
- assess the risks in their workplace,
- use competent help to apply health and safety legislation,
- establish procedures to use if an employee is presented with serious and imminent danger
- co-operate and co-ordinate health and safety if there is more than one employer in a workplace.
Under COSHH the manager is required to
- assess the risks of exposure to hazardous substances in their workplace,
- prevent exposure or substitute with a less hazardous substance or process/method if possible,
- control exposure if prevention or substitution are not reasonably practicable,
- maintain, examine and test the control measures, e.g. automatic dosing systems,
- provide information, instruction and training for their employees
- provide health surveillance of employees if appropriate.
Wilby Risk Management can perform a risk assessment and help to put a plan in place to make sure your spa pools and hot tubs are properly maintained, to keep the risk of infection low. Please get in touch for more information.