Pools: Safety at the pool

Find out how to safely manage pool use.

On this page:

  • Overview
  • Comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act
  • Day-to-day pool management procedures
  • Rules for pool users
  • Lifeguards
  • Fences and signs

Overview

You must make sure everyone who is using the school pool with your permission remains healthy and safe. This includes school community members who use the pool after school and in the holidays with your permission.

Comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act

As part of managing your pool safely we recommend you review your school’s health and safety systems against the 11 key components of an effective health and safety system.

This will help you meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Day-to-day pool management procedures

You must have procedures in place for managing your pool day-to-day.

Make sure that the people involved in managing the pool understand their role.

Some sample procedures are:

  • Regularly check the operation and effectiveness of the pool gates and locks. Replace any locks that stick or don’t close properly.
  • Ensure the first aid kit is accessible to pool users and regularly checked.
  • Lock pool chemicals away from the swimming pool and changing rooms. Store and dispose of them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Put away pool equipment when not in use as it can be a potential hazard if left lying around. Do not store pool equipment in the same area as the pool chemicals (to prevent students accessing hazardous chemicals).
  • Do not allow aquatic toys that are not designed for pool use (such as boogie boards).
  • Manage water quality in compliance with current standards (see: Maintenance).

Rules for pool users

Develop rules for the safe use of your pool.

Display the rules where they can be read by all pool users, such as on a sign beside the gate.

Some sample rules are:

  • Nobody is to swim alone. There must always be at least one pool supervisor present when the pool is in use. Additional supervisors are required as the number of people swimming increases.
  • Children under 8 must be actively supervised by someone who is at least 16, who can give immediate help.
  • The pool supervisor must make sure the gate is always securely closed.
  • Nobody is to swim while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Check the depth of water before entering the pool.
  • Check for hazards, such as steep slopes into deeper water.
  • No running, jumping, or diving into the pool.
  • Return pool equipment to the storeroom after use.
  • Boogie boards, surf boards and kayaks are not to be used in the pool.
  • The first aid kit is stored in the...
  • The closest telephone for emergencies is located at ...

Lifeguards

School pools do not need professional lifeguards, however risk must be managed and supervision is required.

There must always be at least one pool supervisor present when the pool is in use.

Additional supervisors are required as the number of people swimming increases.

Children under 8 must be actively supervised by someone who is at least 16, who can give immediate help.

Fences and signs

Make sure people can’t access the pool when:

  •  there is no one to supervise, or
  •  they’re uninvited (such as trespassers entering the pool outside school hours).

You must have fences and signage that meet the legal requirements and design standards set out in:

To minimise unauthorised use, consider having a security system.

Fences around school swimming pools must not have:

  • barbed wire or razor wire
  • spikes or arrow tips capable of causing serious injury
  • broken glass set into mortar
  • other accessories capable of causing serious injury to people.

More information about fencing:

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