While having a swimming pool at your hotel or guest house may be a great selling point which increases your occupancy rate, it can create some significant risks and liabilities to your business.
To keep staff and guests safe at your swimming pool, there should be rules for your staff to ensure that health and safety is top of mind and for guests to follow, both of which will reduce your liability exposures.
Avoid Costly Compensation Claims
Should a guest slip on a wet surface and injure themselves, they may hold you liable and look for compensation. While such legal challenges will usually be covered under the Public Liability element of your Hotel Insurance, prevention is always better than cure.
Pool Safety Guidelines
To increase awareness and improve safety, you should consider implementing Pool safety guidelines for guests and your own staff to follow. The following regulations may help to frame your own individual hotel pool rules:
- Any person with a visible infectious disease should not be permitted to use the pool.
- Individuals who excrete bodily fluids in the pool should be asked to leave immediately, and the pool should be closed for disinfecting.
- Provide lifeguards during all hours of operation to supervise and observe swimmers.
- Staff additional lifeguards during special events when the number of swimmers increases beyond a typical day’s attendance.
- Have a lifeguard stationed at every slide in the facility whose only responsibility is that area of the pool.
- Provide first aid equipment in an accessible location for use by lifeguards and guests. As a minimum, the kit should include unused disposable gloves and sufficient materials to stop bleeding and clean and bandage minor wounds.
- Have at least one backboard on-site for use during spinal injuries. These boards must have straps and head immobilisers.
- Place a telephone within 150 metres of the swimming pool with emergency phone numbers clearly posted next to the phone.
- Ensure that all chemicals used for the pool operation are correctly stored in labelled containers.
- Keep a daily record of all injuries and operational data, including faecal accidents, chemical levels, water temperature, water clarity and any chemicals added throughout the day – record this data every four hours during operation.
- Use a diethyl-p-phenylenediamine (DPD) testing kit for measuring the concentration levels of chlorine or bromine, pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid and water temperature in the pool.
- Ensure that pool water is circulated continuously 24 hours a day during the time of year that the pool is in operation.
- Conduct a manual test of chlorine and pH at the beginning of each shift before swimmers enter the pool.
Your Hotel rules and guidelines will help to improve and maintain your health and safety. To further reduce the risk, you should also provide some clear rules provided for guest swimmers.
Guest rules will not only reduce the risk of accidents and potential Public Liability claims but also eliminate the associated negative online reviews, which can be extremely damaging to your hotel's reputation.
The following guest rules will help you frame your own guidelines:
- The rules and requests made by lifeguards should always be respected and followed.
- Always walk, not run, on a pool deck and around the facility.
- Children shorter than 1.2 metres (122 cm) should be accompanied by an adult at all times while in the water or on the grounds of the facility. While in the water, the adult should be within an arm’s length of the child.
- Children who are not potty-trained will only be allowed in the pool if they are wearing an approved swim nappy and a swimming suit. Cloth or disposable nappies are not appropriate attire.
- Acceptable swimming attire must be worn by all guests when entering the water.
- Animals are not allowed in the pool area or on the grounds with the exception of guide dogs; however, guide dogs should never be allowed in the water.
- Guests who appear to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol will be asked to leave the facility immediately.
- Food and beverages will only be allowed in designated areas.
- Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds.
- The use of flotation devices must be approved by a lifeguard.
- All swimmers must shower before entering the pool. Guests with open sores, cuts and infected eyes will not be allowed to enter the pool.
- All swimmers must pass a facility swim test to enter the deep end of the pool.
- Diving in the shallow end is strictly prohibited.
- Back dives, somersaults and dangerous jumps (as determined by the lifeguard) are not permitted.
- Swimmers must leave the pool area immediately when advised by staff due to inclement weather, a chemical emergency or bodily fluids in the pool.
- Foul or abusive language will not be tolerated or accepted at the facility.
- Guests who are verbally warned about unacceptable behaviour will be asked to leave the facility if a second offence occurs.
Should an injury, or worse, occur to a hotel guest in or around your Pool, one of the first areas that will come into question, both from health and safety regulators and your insurers is the actions and qualifications of your lifeguard.
With this in mind, you need to ensure that your lifeguards are fully qualified and appropriately trained. This could typically include the following:
- Be capable swimmers and able to perform lifeguarding tasks as authorised by their certifications
- Be responsible for the safety of swimmers within their designated zone
- Have a clear view of the bottom of the pool and all areas that they are responsible for supervising
- Be wearing a uniform that correctly identifies them as a lifeguard on duty for customers and other staff members
- Be prepared to immediately enter the water for a rescue
- Not conduct swim instruction or coaching while also on duty as a lifeguard
- Always have a rescue tube and a CPR pocket mask on their person while on duty
- Have a valid lifeguard certification from the Swimming Teachers Association or the Royal Life Saving Society UK or other organisation with comparable training
- Possess valid certification for infant, child and adult CPR, including pocket mask, bag valve and two-person CPR
- Possess valid certification for first aid
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We would suggest you use these tips as a starting point, but also take your hotel’s individual risks and exposures into consideration when developing your own policies and rules for your swimming pool.
Insync specialises in cover for the hospitality trade, we can Compare Hotel Insurance from the UK’s leading insurers to ensure you find the right level of cover at the right price. You can request a quotation online, alternatively, why not book a review with one of our expert Gurus, we would love to hear from you!