Managing health and safety in swimming pools - new edition

Managing health and safety in swimming pools - new edition

Cameron Adam, Principal Inspector, HSE
Frances Kelly, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, HSE

Introduction

Cameron Adam and Frances Kelly, unveiled the new edition of HSG 179 - Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools.

The new edition forms part of the HSE’s wider guidance review and has been developed in consultation with the sector. The aim of the review was to bring HSG 179 into line with other HSE publications, ensure it meets the needs of the intended audiences, avoid any duplication and of course keep it accurate and up to date.

“A huge amount of work has gone into this. Without the contribution of the people here, we wouldn’t have got to where we are today,” said Frances.

Changes to the publication

So, what has changed? The language is clearer, technical information has been removed and hyperlinks to HSE and industry guidance have been included wherever possible. The guidance features more information on computer-aided systems as well as some changes to legislation such as changes to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) and the introduction of corporate manslaughter/homicide. References to legislation no longer include the dates and the online resources are easier to update to better future proof the guidance.

“It is possible to print this guidance as pdf, but this is essentially an online resource, which is a starting point for people interested in managing health and safety in swimming pools, whether you operate a large swimming pool complex, or have a small swimming pool in a hotel,” said Frances.

The industry should be proud of what has been achieved; the dedication to this particular project demonstrates a real commitment to safety.
— Frances Kelly, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, HSE

What information does HSG 179 contain, and how can it help you?

The vast majority of the information contained within HSG 179 remains unchanged; the exercise wasn’t about big changes to the law, HSE policy or advice. Despite this, the revised guidance looks significantly different from the current form (even if there are no changes in policy).

What it does offer is an introduction to the important topic areas, examples of how operators can comply with the law, clearer information about what the law requires and links to lots of important resources from HSE and industry bodies.

Frances stressed that HSG 179 was a starting point and provides straightforward advice on ‘reasonably practicable’ measures to control risk.  The guidance does not provide detailed instructions on how to run a business, nor does it provide all the answers. Operators will still need to obtain competent advice, and will still need to assess and control the risks in their own businesses.

“We have agreed together that the advice in HSG 179 is sound, and you should be reassured if you follow it. If someone chooses to do something other than what is described in the guidance, that’s okay, providing they stay within the law. Enforcing authorities will look for you to justify your decisions,” said Frances.

Operators are responsible for ensuring the safety of the people who use their swimming pools. For those who get it wrong, there is a potential for steep fines. The largest fine in 2016 was two-and-a-half times the size of the largest fine in 2015 and almost ten times larger than the largest fine in 2014.

Frances said the industry should be proud of what has been achieved; the dedication to this particular project demonstrates a real commitment to safety.

The largest fine in 2016 was two-and-a-half times the size of the largest fine in 2015 and almost ten times larger than the largest fine in 2014.
— Frances Kelly, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, HSE