School fined for safety failings at summer camp

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A school in Kent has been fined for safety failings at a summer activity camp after a seven-year-old boy had to be given CPR after coming into difficulty during a swimming lesson.

The Court heard that the boy struggled for over three minutes before becoming motionless in the water. The lifeguards noticed he was in trouble and retrieved him. He regained consciousness after CPR but developed pneumonitis as a result of the incident.

An investigation by the HSE into the incident, which occurred in August 2014, found that the lifeguards were not effectively managed and monitored to ensure that they were constantly vigilant. It was also discovered that two out of the three lifeguards did not hold a current, in date lifeguard qualification. The school pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9669.19.

Incidents like this can be prevented by ensuring the following control measures are in place:
  • Risk Assessment: A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should be undertaken of the swimming pool. This assessment will need to include not only the physical hazards but those hazards relating to swimmers and swimming-related activities
  • Supervision: Constant poolside supervision by lifeguards provides the best assurance of pool-users’ safety. All areas of the pool and its environs must be adequately observed and supervised. The pool should be divided into zones to ensure all areas are covered. Each zone will need to be continuously scanned. Zones will include the water area above and below the surface plus steps, ladders, activity equipment, walkways, entrances, and the poolside. Pool operators are responsible for assessing whether hires of pools have made effective and safe arrangements for supervision
  • Management of Lifeguards: It is the responsibility of the pool operator to ensure that lifeguards are sufficient in number and properly supervised. Lifeguards must be adequately trained and hold a qualification by an appropriate national body, in order to demonstrate competence. It is vital that lifeguards are effectively organised and diligent in their duties and clear about their areas of work.

    Please contact your Judicium Education Health and Safety consultant if you require further advice.




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