BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 August, 1998, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Pools 'put lives at risk'
Pool
Which? carried out an anonymous survey of pools
Many swimming pools are putting bathers at risk because of poor safety standards, according to the Consumers' Association magazine Which?

It says many pools have inadequate lifeguard supervision, a lack of warning signs and potentially dangerous design features.

Lifeguard
Some lifeguards were complacent
Last year, 14 people drowned in public and private pools.

In two of the cases, deaths occurred because it was not realised that young children had got into difficulties.

Which? magazine asked inspectors from the Institute of Sport and Recreational Management to carry out anonymous safety checks at 29 pools across England and Wales.

All the pools failed to meet some of the current safety guidelines on the day they were visited.

In two-thirds of the pools, lifeguards were criticised for not having a professional attitude, lacking vigilance and carelessness.

Other potential health risks identified were slippery floors, poorly designed slides and powerful suction outlets where swimmers' hair could get trapped.

Shauna Massey of the Consumers' Association, said: "The 29 pools we inspected all had some problems where they didn't quite meet the guidelines.

Swimming
At least 14 people drowned in 1997
"Now that would indicate there are possibly many more pools out there which don't meet up with the guidelines as well."

There are no specific laws requiring swimming pools to provide adequate lifeguard cover but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), responsible for local authority pools, says they are essential.

Daniel Mallon of the HSE said: "When you go to pools and there are no lifeguards or they are incompetent or not doing their job properly we can offer a prohibition notice or an improvement notice.

"We can prosecute and we have done that."

Four specific pools were picked out for criticism by the inspectors:

  • Bournemouth International Centre, where the investigators said virtually the whole pool was supervised by a single lifeguard.
  • The Nova Centre in Prestatyn, north Wales, where the inspectors said lifeguards showed "a general lack of professional behaviour and a high degree of complacency".
  • The Sandcastle Leisure Centre in Blackpool, where support structures for two of the slides overhung the pool creating a potential for head injuries.
  • Rhyl Sun Centre in north Wales, which had a slide overhanging the water.

However, some pools were singled out by the inspectors for high standards including Aquasplash at Butlin's in Bognor Regis and the Centre Parcs complex in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lisa Holland reports for BBC News
BBC News Correspondent Lisa Holland reports on the problem pools
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes