You’re not ready for the new season until you complete this risk- management checklist.
With everything from
hazardous chemicals to heavy equipment, aquatics facilities are a
potential land mine for risk managers. Here’s an opening
season checklist to help you diffuse safety issues before they
Inspect barriers.Ensure that chain
link hasn’t been cut and vertical rails in fencing are no
more than 4 inches apart. Use a tape measure. Your eye may not
detect a quarter inch of additional space, but that little bit of
extra room may be all a child needs to squeeze through and into
your facility. Avoid ornamental fencing with horizontal members
because youngsters may find this tempting to climb. Likewise, do
not position benches next to fences. This can give a climber just
the boost needed to get up and over your fence. Make sure all gates
open outward, are self-closing, and have latches installed out of
the reach of children.
Updaterecords.Contact the Health
Department, the Agriculture Department and any other government
agency for which you must maintain records. Ask for a copy of their
report forms. Use this as a basis for the records you keep at your
facility. Make sure logs are filled out accurately and consistently
— they may be your best defense if an incident leads to
litigation. Train your staff on what to include and what to exclude
on chemical test logs and incident reports. Facility records should
be limited to facts; opinions should be saved for staff
Run in-service training.This should be done
with the entire staff before opening the pool for the season, and
then regularly throughout the season. Emergency skills should be
practiced in the setting where they’ll be used. Ensure that
all equipment is operational and all certifications are up to
Check signs.Make certain that
signage meets code, is properly positioned and easy to understand.
Measure water depth and check to see if depth markers are correct.
Install the international “No Diving” symbol alongside
each depth marker in shallow water. At emergency telephones, place
signage that indicates whether callers should dial
“911,” “9-911” or just lift the receiver
and listen for Emergency Services to respond.
Review chemical stock.Call the Agriculture
Department to pick up chemicals that should be disposed of. Store
fresh chemicals in their own containers or in new storage vessels.
Do not combine chemicals to save storage space. And do not store
incompatible chemicals — for example, chlorine and acid
— in the same area. Check with your fire marshal to determine
how much flammable material may be stored on site. See to it that
fire extinguishers are full, and emergency stations for eyewashes
and showers are flushed out. Update your MSDS manual.
Enlist experts.Use them for
technical assistance with electrical and gas-powered equipment.
Have an aquatic safety expert review your facility’s
emergency action plan and do a thorough site
inspection each year. If diving boards, slides, chemical feed
equipment or filtration equipment need service, contact the
manufacturer for a list of certified service providers. Doing the
work yourself could save money in the short term, but may open you
up to unnecessary liability.
Take measure.Measure the length,
width and depth of each pool, and calculated gallonage. Just as a
doctor must know your weight to properly prescribe medicine
dosages, you must know how much water is in your pool to determine
proper chemical dosages. Invest in a new test kit each year, and
read and follow all directions. Test the incoming water as well as
the pool water so you can anticipate the effect of fill water on
pool water balance.
Examine pool inlets and outlets.Main drain covers
should be intact and securely fastened. Also remember to follow new
federal pool legislation regarding drain covers. Eyeballs on wall
inlets should be angled to direct circulation toward dead spots.
Floor inlets should not present a trip hazard. Vacuum outlets
should have self-closing covers, and grates should be free of
cracks and chips that could result in injury. Skimmer covers,
baskets and weirs should be inspected for damage and replaced if
necessary. A skimmer without a weir cannot function properly.
Visit the CDC’s Web site.Review the new
Fecal Accident Response Recommendations (revised December
20, 2007) and update your facility’s procedures accordingly.
Contact local and state regulatory agencies for their directives as
well. Click on the “Health Promotions Materials” link
and download brochures and posters for use at your facility. By
educating your staff and the public, you can reduce the chance of
disease transmission at your facility. www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming
Test flow meters,and pressure and vacuum gauges.Are they intact and
properly installed? Replace gaskets or O-rings on pump strainers
annually to ensure that lids seal tightly. Likewise, replace rubber
parts on chemical feed equipment each year and inspect plastic
parts for degradation due to chemical contact. Clean vent covers in
chemical storage rooms and equipment areas. Ensure that air
exchange rates meet standards and that chemical storage room air is
not vented into the pool area.