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News

HSE clarifies health and safety responsibilities for public paddling pools and tidal pools

HSE InfoLine : 08 August, 2005  (New Product)
The Health and Safety Executive has issued a note clarifying guidance for managing health and safety in public paddling pools, tidal pools and segregated areas of rivers, lakes and the sea. HSE has issued the note in response to requests from operators of such facilities to make clear their responsibilities.
The note will accompany HSE's existing guidance, Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools (HSG179). HSG179 applies primarily to the safe management and operation of swimming pools. The new note does not replace any of the guidance contained in HSG179 but is intended to clarify for both operators and users the legal requirements relating to other sorts of pools and swimming facilities.

In a question and answer format, the note addresses key questions that managers have raised, such as 'Does HSE guidance apply to paddling pools?' and 'Does HSG179 apply to swimming in open water?' The note emphasises the need for pool operators to carry out a risk assessment and implement precautions based on the findings of that assessment.

Justin McCracken, Deputy Director General of HSE, said: 'Sensible health and safety is about managing risks, not eliminating them. Proper risk assessment should result in precautions appropriate to the particular circumstances.

'HSE aims to be open and helpful. We recognised that some managers believe that health and safety law may impose excessive restraints on the way facilities such as paddling pools are used, so we have issued this note to clarify their responsibilities.

'HSE believes that swimming and paddling pools are valuable recreational facilities and learning to swim is a vital part of children's education. It would be a sad day if misplaced risk aversion deprived them of such opportunities.

'If people choose to swim in open water where swimming is not actively encouraged, it is reasonable to assume that they take greater responsibility for their own personal safety.'
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