Pool Safety Operating Procedures

Operational 21-JUL-2021  

Key Points

  • Know the location of safety and emergency equipment and the emergency procedure

In an emergency dial 999 WITHOUT DELAY. The location of the pool is Cottonmill Lane (near the junction with Cottonmill Crescent) in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Postcode AL1 1HJ. Remember you will have to open the front door for the emergency services.

  • There are no lifeguards. Members provide the equivalent supervision of lifeguards
  • If you consider the limitations, risks and hazards to be unacceptable, do not use the pool.
  • All members are responsible for safety and for knowing and enforcing the rules
  • All adults in the pool must be competent swimmers
  • The swimming lane zone is for lane swimming not playing.
  • Children in the swimming lane zone must be competent swimmers
  • The pool may only be used if there is a functioning mobile phone on the premises.
  • Solo swimming is not recommended.
  • No running. No throwing or pushing people in. No diving. No Jumping. No bombing.
  • Children and Young Persons in the pool must be constantly monitored by their parent(s) – in accordance with the section of this document relating to children and young people.
  • Children and playing is restricted to the general zone (suspended under CV-19 restrictions)
  • Soft inflatables and balls are allowed. Nothing hard. No paddles. No mermaid tails.
  • Use of the pool is for members only. Guests are not normally allowed.
  • No glass or bottles on the poolside.
  • Children must be supervised by their parents – on the premises
  • Verify everyone has left the premises before locking up and do not lock the main entrance door from the inside.
  • Please respect and take care of our pool safety equipment and know how to use it.
  • The pool is run by the members for the members. Standards of operation may not be as high as might be expected in a commercial pool.


The pool is available for use by Club members and the children of Club members only. It is not open to the public and guests may only use the pool with special permission of the Directors (AKA Committee). Members must book access to the pool using the online booking system, subject to the provisions of this document.

The operation of the pool is subject to Health and Safety legislation and this document is based on the current edition of “Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools” issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that offers guidance to commercial operators of club pools and the Directors regard following the guidance in the document as the right approach to operate the pool safely, as following it will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Who is responsible for safety?

 The responsibilities and relationships between a commercial operator, its employees and their customers cannot be transposed directly to our club setting. Our pool is leased from SADC and in effect the members are the operators. This is quite different to a commercial setting, where the operator and its employees are responsible, with only a limited duty of care falling on the customers.

The club has no customers, only members and members are obliged, not only to comply with the pool safety rules, but also to assist the club Directors in their enforcement. All members have a responsibility to do all that is reasonably practicable to take care of their own health and safety and that of others. As in any organisation, everybody is responsible for safety.

The Directors of St Albans Sub-Aqua Club use these Pool Safety Operating Procedures (PSOP) to ensure the associated risks and hazards are managed to provide a safe pool operation for its members.

Limitations to the provision of safety

All members must be made aware of these safety limitations and must make their own judgement as to whether they wish to use the pool.

The Club Directors acknowledge their obligation to ensure that all reasonable safety measures are put in place and enforced within the limitations and constraints of the premises and operational practicalities. In a Club setting they assess it is reasonable to operate a pool differently to a commercial operation open to the public.

Constant poolside supervision (watching the water) by lifeguards provides the best assurance of pool users’ safety but is considered impractical in our club environment because we are a volunteer organisation and it is not possible for the club to become an employer of lifeguards or economically viable to have lifeguards available for all the possible hours of operation.

The club uses alternative measures to provide assurance of pool users’ safety based on educating our members to act responsibly and in a safe manner, and making sure members strictly adhere to the procedures described in this document.

The approach is heavily biased towards fostering a safety first and risk adverse culture that focusses on the avoidance and prevention of safety issues rather than monitoring and responding to accidents.

In effect the members are individually and collectively aware of the risks and hazards and actively self-regulate and supervise each other to deliver the equivalent functionality of dedicated lifeguards. Members are motivated to do this as they know that their noncompliance would mean the pool would be closed to swimmers. Consequently, EVERY member is required to:

  • Self-regulate and enforce the rules
  • Maintain awareness of potential safety hazards of using the pool
  • Follow the good practices defined in this document in and around the pool
  • Complete mandatory safety briefings and basic rescue skills before using the pool
  • Take responsibility for themselves, their children and other members who get into difficulty
  • Ensure everyone is following the Pool safety Operating procedures (the rules) and confront other members when they forget
  • When necessary, report members who do not follow the PSOP to the committee.

From August 2020 club officers will carry out random spot checks on the members who must demonstrate their swimming competency, working knowledge of the Pool Safety Operating Procedures, and on occasions demonstrate the correct methods of deploying the safety equipment as part of mock rescue exercise.

General Issues of Conduct and Behaviour at the Pool

We rely entirely on the compliance of members with the provisions of this document to keep the pool open and operational.

In the event of refusal to comply with Club rules or guidelines, refusal to comply with the direction of a Committee member, misuse of or damage to Club property or equipment, or serious or persistent breach of the rules, the directors of the Club may at their discretion, and with no refund of any fees paid by any member:

  • Suspend any membership for a period to be determined by the directors. Or
  • Immediately terminate any membership

Pool Users

1.     Competent and capable swimmers

One of alternative measures used because there are no lifeguards is to ensure all adult pool users, and all young people (children over the age of 8) who participate in lane swimming, are competent swimmers as defined in Appendix-3-Competent and Capable Swimmer

When joining, renewing, or booking swim slots for lane swimming, members will be required to declare/acknowledge that they and any associated adult pool users (Dive member’s spouse, Snorkel member’s spouse, or member’s guest) and any of their children over the age of 8 who participate in lane swimming are competent swimmers.

Authorised club officials will randomly select pool users who must demonstrate their swimming competency. Results will be recorded. Inability to demonstrate the required standard may result in the suspension of the member’s pool access.

2.     Members, Members’ Children, Members’ Spouse

The use of the pool is restricted to specific hires and to adults entitled to use the pool as part of the membership. The registered children of these members may use the pool when accompanied and supervised directly by the adult member to whom they are registered . Social members are not permitted to use the pool but are allowed poolside.

Before using the pool, and on joining and on renewal, the adult member must have completed the pool safety induction briefing, and be familiar with the current Pool Safety Operating Procedures, especially the clauses pointing out the hazards and risks and the emergency, safety and rescue procedures.

3.     Guests

Members’ adult guests (see Club Regulations) may only use the pool when authorised in advance by the Club Committee. The member must always accompany the guest who must have attended or watched the pool safety briefing, and be familiar with the current Pool Safety Operating Procedures, especially the clauses pointing out the hazards and risks and the emergency, safety and rescue procedures. The privileges of a guest shall not exceed those of the member.

4.     Private Function

The pool can be hired in its entirety or in part for private functions. The hired portion of the pool is not available for use by club members. The hirer is required to provide:

  • The hire specific risk assessment approved by the Health and Safety Officer.
  • Adequate Lifeguard Pool Supervision or show the agreed alternative measures within the approved Risk Assessment
  • Relevant insurance, verified as appropriate by the Health and Safety Officer

5.     Entry/Exit into the water

 There is must be no throwing, pushing, jumping, diving or bombing into the pool because there is a risk of injury as most of the pool depth is unsuitable and there is the possibility of colliding with somebody already in the pool.

  • To safely enter the pool, use the poolside steps/ladders or a sitting swivel entry
  • To safely exit the pool, use the steps/ladders

6.     Pool Zones

The pool can be set-up in a variety of configurations. See Appendix-2-The Pool Layout

Lane swimming by competent swimmers has less risks compared to using the pool for play and splash-about. Unless lane swimming members are restricted to the general swimming zone which is a shallow (0.9m deep) area of limited size and the only zone where pool users can play in the water and use toys and use inflatables.

Young people may use the lane area for swimming provided they are competent swimmers. The lanes are not a play area.

7.     Changing Facilities

Use the changing facilities to change in and out of your bathing costume. Do not use the toilet facilities inside the clubhouse for changing

You should be fully Dried-off and wearing footwear when inside the clubhouse. No bare feet allowed. Do not wear or bring your wet bathing costume in the clubhouse as it can drip and create a slip hazard for yourself and other users.

8.     Pool Capacity and Overcrowding

We limit the number of swimmers in the pool as overcrowding increases the risk of accidents and makes it more difficult to spot swimmers in distress. Access to the pool is controlled by the online booking system. and we operate the pool with a capacity of 32 lane swimmers when the pool is configured entirely for lane swimming or 76 general bathers in the general zone and 8 lane swimmers in the remaining lanes dedicated to lane swimming.

Children and Vulnerable Pool Users

9.     Children (aged under 8 years old)

Children aged under 8 years old are at particular risk in and around swimming pools and must never be left unattended in the pool or when on poolside. Members who leave their child or children unattended in the pool or poolside may have their membership terminated with immediate effect.

Supervision of children in the water aged under 8 years old should be by a parent or legal guardian (defined as “parent” in this document) within arm’s reach of their child. The parent must supervise the child on a 1:1 ratio, e.g. only supervise that one child and no others. This responsibility must not be delegated to other pool users.

10.  Young People (aged 8 to 17 years old)

Access by young people is suspended unless lane swimming. See Appendix-5-Young Person access during COVID-19 restrictions

Children aged 8 to 17, hereafter referred to as young people may still be vulnerable in and around the water. Members who leave their child or children unattended in the pool or poolside may have their membership terminated with immediate effect.

The parent or legal guardian (defined as “parent” in this document) can supervise up to two young people and no others. When in the pool the young person(s) must be actively and constantly monitored and supervised by the parent who must not engage in other activities whilst supervising. This supervision may take place from the poolside, but the parent must be:

  • Ready to enter the water to assist their child/children
  • Already dressed appropriately (and not fully clothed) to enter the water
  • Remain within 10-15 metres of their child/children when they are lane swimming to affect a rapid in-water rescue if necessary

Please make young people aware of the rules set out in this document and encourage them to obey any safety instructions or advice given by an adult member.

11.   Cold Water Swimming

The pool is open for swimming – subject to the provisions of this document – year-round and is unheated. Any time swimming in cold water should be limited as you risk hyperthermia which can cause you to become disorientated and affect your ability to make decisions. Take time to acclimatise to colder water and wear a wet suit when appropriate. Even experienced cold-water swimmers can be caught unawares by the dangers. Be aware that your core temperature can continue to drop even once out of the water.

Do not shower in hot water after a cold swim because it is dangerous. Swimmers are advised to warm up by dressing as quickly as possible in layers and having a warm drink.

Solo swimming in cold water is particularly inadvisable (see below on Solo Swimmers).

12.   Solo Swimming

Solo swimmers are at additional risk. The absence of anyone to help can turn a minor problem (cramp, cold, accident, health issue) into a fatal incident. For these reasons solo swimming is actively discouraged by the Club and is at the risk of the adult member concerned provided that he or she understands and accepts the risks involved. Children and young people must never swim alone.

Solo swimmers must ensure friends or family are aware of their presence at the pool and the time that they expect to be back. They should make arrangements to take actions in the event the swimmer fails to make contact within the specified time. Swimmers are strongly encouraged to use a buddy system for arranging their swims. This can be done by using the highly active swimming Facebook group.

13.   Other Vulnerable Pool Users

Any member with a special need or disability that increases their risk as a pool user should liaise with the Club’s Health and Safety officer in advance of using the pool to complete the appropriate risk assessment.

All swimming, diving and snorkel members are required to be competent swimmers. Be aware there may be non-swimmers poolside who may not wish to enter the water. Non swimmers in the water must be accompanied by their parent and wear flotation arm bands and stay within their depth.


Specialised Activities

14.   Scuba and Snorkel Divers

Scuba and snorkel equipment can only be used in the pool by qualified members. Scuba and snorkel divers must dive in accordance with their own guidelines and have shore cover (diving marshal).  All pool users must follow any instructions given by the diving marshal.

15.  Snorkel Equipment

Adult divers and snorkellers who have been trained may use a mono fin and snorkel equipment in the pool. Junior snorkellers who have completed their training and are underwater hockey players may practise with a snorkel, mask and fins in the pool provided they are being supervised by a parent in accordance with the section above on supervision generally of children and young people.

16.   Canoeing

Canoeing is only permitted when the pool has been hired in its entirety as part of a private hire

17.  Swim Fins

Swim fins (as opposed to standard fins used for diving) may be used by both adults and children/young people as a swim training aid. Parents should be aware that they increase power and may give a false sense of security to children and young people who may travel out of their depth without realising it. Parents should therefore supervise the use of swim fins.

18.  Mermaid Tails

“Mermaid tails” are not permitted in the pool under any circumstances. Their use has been linked to fatalities and the RLSS (UK) has cautioned that they should only be used in organised classes by trained professionals.

19.  Competitive games

Participants in organised pool games will be more vulnerable to injury, and the organisers of these events must carefully consider their safety. Any formal competitive games should liaise with the Club’s Health and Safety officer in advance of using the pool to complete the appropriate risk assessment. Please check before organising or taking part in any competitions, however informal they may be.

20.  Balls

Only SOFT inflatable beach-type balls and skimmer balls (i.e. those specifically designed for pool use and no other sports or exercise such as footballs) are allowed poolside and in the pool.

21.  Inflatables and Lilos

Parents should be mindful of the risks of large inflatable toys and lilos as there is a danger that children may become trapped in or hidden from view under them.

22.  Paddles

No paddles of any type, such as those used to propel inflatable dinghies, are permitted to be used int the pool. This is due to the risk of damage to the pool liner and pool surrounds from these items.


Health restrictions. See Appendix-4-COVID-19 restrictions

23.  Prior Health Problems

Swimming is an activity which requires general physical fitness and good health. It can also do much to generate these conditions, but some pre-existing health problems are not compatible with swimming. We require members to complete a health declaration stating they are fit to swim/snorkel or dive and if there are issues, we need a medical referee to confirm you are fit to swim.

Swimming Members, Member’s registered children, Member’s registered Spouse, Members guest must complete a medical fitness to swim declaration form

Diving Members must complete a medical fitness to dive declaration  form

Snorkel members must complete medical fitness to snorkel declaration form

24.  Eating

Eating immediately before swimming should be avoided as it can lead to vomiting.

25.  Drinking

Ensure you are properly hydrated before swimming. Avoid drinking alcohol before swimming. (see Alcohol Consumption section) Alcohol is the major contributor in all adult related drownings.

26.  Impaired/Intoxicated

Do not use the pool when your judgment is impaired by drugs or alcohol

27.   Cramping

Experiencing cramp whilst swimming can be dangerous and lead to drowning.

Help avoid cramping by only swimming when properly nourished and hydrated and by stretching before swimming. Fatigue, rigorous exercise and overusing a muscle can cause cramp.

When experiencing symptoms try to leave the pool or when not possible move to the shallow water or to the side of the pool and if severe summon help from other members.

28.  Thunderstorms

The pool must not be used in the event of a thunderstorm or lightning. Please vacate the pool and take shelter from the storm until at least 30 minutes has passed after the last thunder or lightning has been heard or seen.


Additional hygiene procedures in place. See Appendix-4-COVID-19 restrictions

29.  Swim Nappies

Swim nappies must be worn by individuals not toilet trained.

30.  Open Wounds

Do not enter the pool with open wounds or if unwell.

31.  Toilet Facilities

Fully dry off and wear footwear before returning to the clubhouse to use the internal toilet facilities.  Only use the poolside toilet facilities when wearing wet swimwear and never use the facilities in the clubhouse when wet because you will drip onto the floor and create a slip hazard for yourself and other users.

The poolside and clubhouse toilet facilities are not to be used for changing.

32.  Contamination

Use the toilet facilities before swimming and do not deliberately contaminate the pool.

In the event of accidental release or the discovery of contamination by urine, faeces, blood or vomit

  • Exit the water immediately
  • Inform other pool users
  • shower and
  • update the notice fixed to the back of the pool access door to show the current state
  • At the earliest opportunity contact the pool maintenance team via Facebook or telephone and email committee@sasac.co.uk

Water Quality

33.   Filtration

The original water filtration system was removed in the 1970s and a new water filtration system has been installed in 2020. It must be accepted that the resources of the club are limited, and the pool is over one hundred years old. It is therefore not possible to operate the pool to modern commercial standards.

34.  Visibility

The water quality is regularly monitored but given certain conditions it is possible for the water to rapidly become green and cloudy and create low water visibility that increases the risk that a distressed swimmer is not spotted under the water. Extra caution should be exercised when using the pool if the water is unclear. Do not swim if you are unsure.

35.  Pool Water Treatment

The Directors authorise at least one competent member to monitor the condition of the pool water and to treat with chemicals as required to keep the water as safe as reasonably practical.

A notice is fixed to the back of the pool access door, showing the current state of the water, and advising whether it is safe for swimming or not. Members should pay attention to this notice.

Nobody shall attempt to treat the pool water, or handle the chemicals, unless they have received proper training and have been authorised by the Directors

36.  Showers

Access to the showers has changed. See Appendix-4-COVID-19 restrictions

The showers use thermostatic mixer to produce warm water for pool users to rinse off following a swim. The water quality is tested as part of the building safety checks. The showers are turned off during the autumn and winter periods. Parents should not allow their children to “play” in the showers or the shower area.

Other Users

37.  Poolside Users

Not everyone wants to be in the water. Those on the poolside for a BBQ, a drink in the sun, sunbathing, or just watching the fun, may also be at risk.

Poolside users should avoid getting close to the edge of the pool. Falling in is the obvious hazard, but there are also trip hazards, getting splashed by pool users etc. Take particular care if you have been drinking, or if you cannot swim. Throwing or pushing people in, and running poolside, is strictly forbidden.

38.  Children

Children and young persons must always be supervised when on the premises

39.  Smoking

There is no smoking permitted in the clubhouse or poolside. People can smoke in the car park

40.  Glass

Only cans or plastic glasses are allowed on the poolside – no glass such as glass bottles are permitted. Broken glass on the pool surround is a real danger to bare feet and dangerous to swimmers and the pool liner if it gets into the pool itself.  Empty Pool

Although the pool is now in use throughout the winter, extra care should be taken when there is little or no water in the pool.

41.  BBQ and cooking

Take care around the barbecue area and observe all the usual precautions. BBQ’s can be hot and can cause fires if left unattended.

The club will not cook your food for you, so make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked through before eating. If in doubt, there is a microwave indoors.

42.  Trips and Slips

Remove fins on leaving the pool and never wear them to walk on the pool surround

There must be no running in the premises including the pool area 

No access to club house with bare feet. Footwear must be worn when re-entering clubhouse and you should be fully dried-off (and not your bathing costume) before returning to the clubhouse. Wet bathing costume worn in the clubhouse can drip and create a slip hazard for yourself and other users.

43.  Alcohol Consumption

Using the pool and supervising children after the consumption of alcohol should be avoided. In both case it is only allowed when the alcohol intoxication levels remain under the drink drive limit. Alcohol is the major contributor in all adult related drownings.

44.  Electricity

Do not operate any electrical equipment whilst wet.

Electricity is available on the poolside and in some of the outbuildings for lighting, and electrical appliances. All electrical sockets adjacent to the poolside are protected with Residual Current Detection devices.

45.  After dark

The pool floodlighting must be switched on when members are poolside after dark. The pool must not be used outside daylight hours. The use of the poolside area is not permitted after midnight to avoid nuisance to our neighbours, and the floodlighting will automatically turn off at midnight

Control of Admissions

46.  Access Control

The building entrance (front door) is fitted with a Chub style 5-lever mortice lock and a magnetic electronic door lock. The magnetic lock is controlled by an electronic key fob from the outside. The chub key can also be used to open the blue door adjacent to the showers.

Any adult member may apply for a keyset consisting of a chub key and an electronic key fob. The key fob is activated after the member has attended or watched the compulsory Safety Briefing. Members who refuse to comply with Club rules or the provisions of this document may have their access withdrawn – see the section on General Issues of Conduct and Behaviour at the Pool.

47.  Access Recordings

The electronic key fob is assigned to an individual and the keeps a record of when it is used. The member is required to sign-in and sign-out of the building using the paper sheets. When leaving the building the paper records should be reviewed to determine if other people are still in the building or you are the last person.

48.  Unavailable to Swimmers

At certain specified times and when the pool is on hire there will be no access to the pool. Wednesday evenings the pool is used by SCUBA divers and for a few Thursday evenings the pool is hired by a local canoe club.

49.  Hours of Operation

The pool is available for both lane and general swimming during daylight hours, i.e. from 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset. Swimmers are not permitted to use the pool under any circumstances once darkness falls.

50.  Locking and unlocking the pool access door

To open, unbolt the right-hand pool access door, push the bar lock, and latch it open using the external wall hook. Closing it is the reverse procedure.

51.  Locking and unlocking the front door

When entering the premises unlock the mortice lock with your chub key and use your electronic key fob to unlock the electronic lock. When the door is returned to the closed position the electronic lock will re-lock. If it does not please contact a director by email using committee@sasac.co.uk . Check the premises and poolside are empty before locking the front door. Only lock the front door if you are not the last person to leave the building. Locking the front door will arm the alarm.

When a keyholder unlocks and opens the premises, they are responsible for locking up, or handing that responsibility to another keyholder. Always keep your key and electronic key-fob close at hand when on the premises, you will need it if you get locked in.

52.  Alarm

The premises are protected by an intruder alarm. Unlocking the front door mortice lock with the chub key will deactivate the alarm. Locking the front door mortice lock will arm the alarm.

53.  Lock-ins and False Alarm

Members who fail to check the premises are empty when they leave have unintentionally locked people in. The poolside door can also close on its own when blown shut by the wind but as this door cannot be opened from poolside you must use the blue door near the showers to get back into the clubhouse. Unlock the top and bottom locks on the blue door using the same key used to unlock the front door and relock it once inside the clubhouse. Be prepared that by entering the building you will trigger the intruder alarm if the front door has also been locked.

Locking the front door arms the alarm and anyone remaining on the premises will also be locked in. the alarm will be detected movement as an intruder and will activate the sounder. Locking the front door lock from inside the clubhouse or turning the lock when the door is not closed will also activate the alarm.

If you accidently activate the alarm do not leave but wait for the alarm responder to arrive, even if they have not arrived before after the alarm sounder stops. The alarm system will need to be reset.

54.  Unauthorised Access

The pool area is surrounded by a high brick wall, topped with barbed wire, to deter unauthorised access. Any unauthorised person, entering either through the door or over the wall, should not be confronted. Politely ask them to leave (ask them to come back on a Wednesday evening if they have legitimate business, such as a membership enquiry). Using your mobile call a friend or another member (preferably a director) to alert them of the issue. If all else fails, leave quietly, and call the police. Do not get involved in any confrontation, especially if you are alone. It might turn violent.

Emergency equipment

55.   Mobile Phone

The pool may only be used if there is a functioning mobile phone available to the swimmer poolside.

56.  Club House Phone

An emergency telephone is located under the first aid box in the common area of the club house or use your mobile phone.

57.  Emergency Action Plan

Dial 999 or 112. The location of the pool is Cottonmill Lane (near the junction with Cottonmill Crescent) in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Postcode AL1 1HJ.

Remember you will need to open the front door to let emergency service into the building.

When emergency services have been contacted please also inform a Director as soon as reasonably possible

58.  First Aid

A First Aid Box is available in the common area of the Clubhouse. Should you use any items please make the Health and Safety Director aware so that they can be replaced.

59.  Automatic External Defibrillator

An Automatic External Defibrillator is located above the first aid box in the common area.  Every member should know where it is and how to use it. If you do not know, open it up and follow the instructions – it is designed to be used by anybody. You cannot make the situation worse by using it. But DO NOT LET IT DELAY YOU CALLING 999!


60.  Safety Briefing

All members receive mandatory Safety Briefing before allowed access to use the pool. It explains how to use the safety equipment and where it is.

Safety equipment is checked regularly but if you notice a problem please make the Committee aware.

61.  Safety Equipment

Members should familiarise themselves with the location of the Club’s safety equipment and its proper use. Flotation devices, ropes and poles are located around the poolside.

Please do not interfere with safety equipment and only use it only for its proper purpose.

62.  Signage

Signage has been installed around the pool to reinforce the safety message and expectations of pool and poolside users

63.  Mock Rescue

Spot checks will be carried out where members need to demonstrate their competency and the correct methods of deploying the safety equipment in a mock rescue exercise.

You may not be informed it is an exercise so we can observe your response and actions.

Another pool user may be asked to be a mock casualty or simulate drowning so we can see if you are as observant and as responsive as you ought to be.

Reporting Accidents and Incidents

64.  Accident Reporting Form

Report all and any accident, injury, incident or near miss to the Committee by filling in an Accident Report Form and posting it into the Accident Reporting Form Box in the Clubhouse. Copies of the Form can be found pinned to the notice board close to the double doors used to access the pool.

in addition to filling in a form, Report all and any accident or injury to the to the Health and Safety Director by emailing committee@sasac.co.uk  

The Club’s Health and Safety Director or any Committee member can also be approached with any general comments, concerns, or suggestions in relation to safety at the pool.

Alternative Lifeguard Measures

In our club environment every member is responsible for safety. The committee can make sure the framework is in place to create the safe environment but as you know when you read the T&Cs, safety is not someone else’s responsibility it is yours.  We are a private pool and have no trained lifeguards on duty supervising the pool. Every member who steps poolside need to remain aware they are the alternative lifeguard and needs to act accordingly.

65.  Observation and Monitoring

Every member once they step poolside needs to be observant and monitor every other pool user. When you see something that does not look right, it is your responsibility to check, investigate and ask until you are satisfied it is alright.

Your role: monitor other pool users and observe their behaviour to ensure they are safe in the pool and are not in distress or doing something that will be unsafe to them or to others.

And other members will be looking out for you too in the same way

On arrival at the pool
  • Before you change, check out who else is in the pool. Check nobody is under the water.
  • Acknowledge other club members, especially those in the pool
  • Remain observant after you start your swim. Monitor the other swimmers
  • IF you are observant as you NEED TO BE, you will know when they leave the water and know when other swimmers join the water
  • When you have not noticed the other swimmer getting out but cannot see them CHECK they are not underwater. Get out of the pool and check if necessary
  • On leaving the water acknowledge the other swimmers so they know you have left
On leaving the pool
  • After you change out of you bathing costume, check out who else is in the pool. Check nobody is underwater.
  • Acknowledge other club members, especially those in the pool, so they know you are leaving the building

When you spot an emergency or potential emergency incident make everyone else aware. It is an emergency shout out HELP and indicate the location of the casualty.

Acknowledge the casualty and reassure.

66.  Recognise the Signs of Drowning

Early signs are unusual behaviour and thrashing about and sometimes vomiting

  1. Head low in the water/ Mouth at water level and open
  2. Head tilted back and mouth open
  3. Hyperventilating or gasping or coughing
  4. Body vertical
  5. Climbing Ladder motion/ appear to be climbing invisible ladder
  6. Eyes are glassy and empty, unable to focus or closed
  7. Trying to roll onto back
  8. Trying to swim and not making progress
  9. CANNOT call for help or wave arms above head
  10. Facing towards people that might help them

67.  Rescue drowning casualty

When you spot an emergency or potential emergency incident make everyone else aware. It is an emergency shout out HELP and indicate the location of the casualty.

Acknowledge the casualty and reassure.

Delegate if possible. Someone can be calling emergency services, another getting AED ready

Assess the situation. Each situation will be different but generally plan to rescue from poolside first

If you are already in the water let poolside members take charge. If nobody else available get out of the pool so you can access the safety equipment.

Do not become the next casualty.

Poolside Rescue

Read this Basic Water Rescue Training Online guide to become familiar with the techniques. As a BSAC club we offer members training in first aid, water rescue and CPR. Contact the Training Officer/Swimming Rep if you are interested.

Usually plan to rescue from poolside first. It is safer for you

  • Deploy floatation aids; Holding out pole for them to grab
  • Pull them towards poolside and shallow water
In-water Rescue

We discourage in-water rescue unless you are adequately trained. Much of the pool is shallow enough to wade. Should you decide the risks are justified remember the would-be helper can become a victim too. Take care and avoid being the next casualty

  • Have a floatation device with you BEFORE you access the casualty
  • Let them use it to float with and not use you.
  • If they start to overwhelm you duck under the water. Drowning people will release you
  • Pull them towards poolside and shallow water
Casualty at poolside
  • If conscious give reassurance and let them calm down before exiting by themselves
  • If unconscious, recover them out of the water and onto the poolside
Immediate Post Rescue
  • If unconscious check for breathing and if OK put them into recovery position and cover in blankets, check for other injuries, and monitor until emergency services arrive
  • If not breathing administer CPR and deploy AED defibrillator
  • If casualty conscious, provide reassurance and make them comfortable. Look for other injuries. They will go into shock. It may be more comfortable for them to sit in a chair but if they faint, they may fall over. Keep them warm. Avoid giving them drinks or food and ALWAYS get them checked out by emergency services.
  • Treat yourself and the rescue team for shock.  

Random Compliance Checks

To be able to demonstrate our risk controls are effective and the pool is being operated in compliance with the PSOP the club will carry out and random checks to:

  1. confirm the adult member remains familiar with the rules described in the PSOP.
  2. confirm the individual is a competent swimmer

The results will be recorded and if necessary produced in court to demonstrate we are monitoring the risk controls and their effectiveness. The members access to the pool may be revoked if these skills cannot be adequately demonstrated.

Appendix-1- poolside supervision is not reasonably practicable

Under clause 187 of Managing health and safety in swimming pools http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg179.pdf a risk assessment must be undertaken to decide whether constant poolside supervision is required.

As the pool meets the criteria from the list, we note that it is strongly recommended that constant poolside supervision is provided.  

However, St Albans Sub-Aqua Club is a club whose members are likely to be strong swimmers, and many of the members are qualified in lifesaving. The Club rules stipulate that the pool may only be used by members who have attended the compulsory Safety Briefing.

Although recognising this falls short of the recommended supervision requirements (4 to 6 lifeguards), it is judged and accepted as a reasonable and practical alternative.  

The highest risk is probably posed by the use of the pool by non-diving members and their children. The rules are probably adequate in these circumstances, but every member must share the responsibility of enforcement.

The use of video surveillance has been considered, but the proposal has been rejected by the membership. 

A Risk Assessment has been carried out and appears at the end of this document.  

Appendix-2-The Pool Layout

Normal Layout is suspended from 20/7/20 see Appendix-4-COVID-19 restrictions

The pool is 18m wide by 32m long and varies in depth from 0.9m to 2.5m. The zones are normally cordoned off by safety ropes. See diagram below.

Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools section-68 references a general occupancy ratio of 3m2 of water per pool user, and for lane swimming to reduce risks of collisions we use 6m2

General Swimming Zone is 0.9m deep with no sharp 17 x 13.5m (230m2) and a maximum capacity of 76 bathers

Lane Swimming Zone is 4.5 x 32m (144m2) and a maximum capacity of 24 bathers

Appendix-3-Competent and Capable Swimmer

The standards used to define a competent and capable swimmer are based on Swim England instructor recommendations. A swimmer is a Competent and Capable Swimmer when they can comfortably and confidently:

  • Swim a length of the pool on their front using breast stroke or front crawl
  • Swim a length of the pool on their back
  • Tread water for 1 minute
  • Float in the resting position on their back
  • Enter and exit the water safely

The club records the details of people assessed to be a Competent and Capable Swimmer

Risk Assessment – Cottonmill Pool

Issue 10 – 16.07.2020     Assessed by: Ben Roberts

HazardWhoFrequencySeverityRisk EvaluationControlsImmediate measures to deal with consequences if risk does occur
COVID -19 transmission  AllHighFatalHighDue to the exceptional circumstances of the current pandemic there is an additional detailed COVID-19Risk Assessment.  All members read and follow new emergency protocol and all guidance contained within it. These temporary C-19 protocols override protocols in this document where applicable/in contradictionAs detailed in the COVID-19RA any member suffering possible symptoms of C-19 in the 14 days following a visit to the pool report to committee immediately.  
Heart attackAllRareFatalMediumMedical self-declaration / BSAC referral to medical referee CPR training for club members De-Fib & training available Telephone line installed Mobile phone on site at all times Advise no solo swimmingCall emergency services (telephone right hand wall by centre door) CPR Use of defibrillator (right hand wall by centre door)      
Drowning  AllRareFatalMediumMonitored by buddy / instructors / club members / parents / pool supervisor Familiarisation with pool depths Deep water normally roped off Training/sessions conducted in depths suitable to skill level Depth and safety signage Rescue equipment availableAssistance from buddy / instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Call emergency services CPR if required
Drowning (cont.)AllRareFatalMediumInductions & safer swimming sessions provided Visibility checked before use Use of all equipment in the pool carefully monitored Use of snorkel and diving equipment restricted to those who have undertaken training Mermaid tails not permitted Balls used in and around the pool designed for pool use 
Poisoning AllRareFatalFatalChemicals, cleaning substances, BBQ lighting fuels, fire accelerant  to be safely stored COSHH Sheets stored with chemicals PPE to be worn by pool dosing team handling chemicals Training given to dosing teamFollow instructions on COSHH sheet Call emergency services if necessary
PanicAllRareModerate injuryLowMonitoring by instructor/ buddy / club member /Pool SupervisorAssistance & TLC  from buddy / instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor
Slipping on pool surroundsAllRareModerate injuryLowNon-slip surface on pool surround No running in pool area Fins removed when walking on pool surrounds  Assistance / by buddy / instructor / club member / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid (right hand wall by centre door) Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary
Slipping on entry to building from pool areaAllRareModerate injuryLowNo walking into club house with wet feet All to change in outside cubicles not toilets Use outside toilets / showers after using poolAssistance / by buddy / instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary
Tripping over filtration pipes across pool surroundsAllRareModerate injuryLowRamps over all pipework to increase visibility and safetyAssistance / by buddy / instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary
Hypothermia  AllRareModerate injuryMediumLimit time in water Training given on use of wetsuits, & warm clothing Hot drinks available Space blankets available in 1st Aid boxSummon instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Remove casualty from water Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary
Skin / eye irritation Ingestion/ Inhalation      All                 Pool testing and dosing teamOccasional                 Occasional  Minor injury               Moderate injuryLow                 MediumPool water tested Chlorine/Ph adjusted Signage on entry to pool indicates water quality Recommend use of goggles / masks by pool users Training given in handling, mixing and dosing pool   All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn when dosing the pool (Respirator mask, goggles, gloves and apron)Shower / bathe eyes Assistance from Instructor / Key holder / Pool Supervisor Seek medical advice           Shower / bathe eyes Follow instructions on COSHH Sheet Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary
Infection from faeces, sickness or bloodAllRareMinor injuryLowUse of toilets before swimming No swimming with open wounds or if unwell Swim nappies to be worn by children not toilet trained Temporary: Children or babies not allowed at this time (C-19)Remove solids and super chlorinate If not solid, vacuum to waste, super chlorinate and close pool for 24hrs      
Cuts from broken glassAllRareMinorLowNo glass on poolsideSummon instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary    
Fire outbreak   And burns from use of BBQ    AllRareModerate injuryLowTemporary: No BBQ’s allowed at this time (C-19) Fire extinguisher BBQ lighting fuels and fire accelerant to be safely stored   Water to hand – pool and running water so treat.Call emergency service if necessary Assistance / by buddy / instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice
Injury from kit used, tools or  building materialsAllRareModerate injuryLowCheck all equipment used for safety Store maintenance items and building materials safely in secure areas Instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor / premises officer to assess and remove kit to quarantine or safe storage areasSummon instructor / club member / parent / pool supervisor Apply appropriate first aid Seek medical advice Call emergency services if necessary