Experts warn commercial pool operators to pump up health and safety

Wednesday, 15 May, 2013

Despite the risk of forced closure, loss of business and the possibility of harming pool users, a significant number of commercial properties are still ignoring basic pool operation procedures, according to industry experts.

John O’Brien, chief executive of Australia’s biggest pool and spa care network PoolWerx, said commercial pool operators needed to take pool operation procedures more seriously.

“Pool health and safety is paramount to commercial pool operators, but it’s only achieved through implementing standard operating procedures that detail regular and preventative water treatment and ongoing maintenance,” he said.

“More often than not pool operators don’t even have adequate procedures in place to meet strict state legislation guidelines.

“In some cases public pools are required to operate an automated or continuous disinfectant dosing system to control health risks but it’s often overlooked because they simply don’t realise it’s a requirement.

“The best practice for commercial pools is to have a water management plan customised for the frequency of use and bather load to reduce the risk of an outbreak of infectious diseases.

“Just this year New South Wales and Victoria experienced a spike in the number of recorded cases of Cryptosporidium and some pools were forced to close. They lost business for 48 hours in order to chemically treat the pool and had to spend a further seven days conducting tests to confirm the pool was crypto free.

“Regular maintenance is also important to ensure the equipment is working at optimum levels as a preventative measure to ensure no breakdown during opening hours.”

In addition, O’Brien said it was critical commercial pool operators met pool safety standards.

“Pool fencing and safety barriers prevent people, especially young children, from entering the pool area and drowning, yet there are still a number of pools that fail to meet the requirements,” he said.

“All states and territories have different pool safety requirements and often pool operators don’t know the rules that apply to them. If unsure, they should consult a local pool maintenance technician.

“CPR charts, depth markers and advisory signs are also important safety tools for commercial pools that are often not compliant to Australian standards.”

He urged pool operators to fully understand all requirements, particularly those required by law.

“Those who fail to meet pool safety and water quality laws will eventually face the consequences. It’s better to be on the front foot with a treatment and maintenance plan that meets all health regulations and safety standards.”

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