Case Study Part 2 - Managing Risk ZAA 108 - Tasmanian public pools

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  • Swimming related cases have the capacity for significant jury awards or settlements in Sports and Recreation Injury Litigation.
  • Historically speaking litigant complaints related to public pool facilities facilities in the Tasmanian context are low in comparative terms
  • There were a total of 10 drowning deaths in Tasmania 2013/ 2014 (Royal Life Saving, September 30, 2014). This is a drop from 13 in the previous years.
  • There are no reported cases of drowning due to negligence in Tasmanian indoor public swimming and recreation facilities.

Recreational water illness

  • Data on significant health and safety violations at Tasmania’s indoor aquatic facilities is unknown.
  • Spas are in these public facilities. There are no known cases of fatalities due to legionnaires disease resultant of spa use.

Cryptosporidium hominis

  • C. hominis, source is human contamination.
  • Facility use filtration techniques such as chlorine and sand filters to mitigate its effects.
  • Water samples collected from the site tested regularly.

Improper circulation design, one that allows water to bypass the filtration and chemical treatment system can cause of this disease outbreak.


  • There are cases of Legionellosis in the Australia every year.
  • A small % comes from recreational water venues.
Legionella becomes trapped in the bubbles from blowers. When the bubbles break the surface, they burst and release droplets that contain Legionella.
  • Patrons in the area inhale the droplets into their lungs.
  • Legionella bacteria have NOT been found in aquatic facilities that are properly maintained.

Disease transmission prevention

  • Use registered disinfectant/sanitiser
  • Follow the label directions and maintain the specified level of disinfection at all times
  • Maintain the water’s pH to a compliant standard such
  • as slightly alkaline reading (7.2 - 7.4)
  • Perform regular oxidation and water replacement
  • Even when a pool or spa is not in use, it is important to maintain a sanitiser residual and to provide circulation to move the sanitizer throughout the system.
  • Features that have been out of operation even for a short time should be cleaned, treated, and adequately flushed before use.

Chemical Control

  • Reduces liability
  • Reduces operational costs

There is a Hazard Guide that provides OH&S standards for recreational water

  • Untreated pool water is an environment that encourages the rapid growth of organisms. Continual treatment of this water is necessary to prevent the development of a health hazard.
  • Water quality must equal or exceed the standards set by the standards.

Chemical Exposure

  • The indoor aquatic environment will develop airborne contaminates if proper water treatment and air exchanges are not maintained.
  • The amount of fresh air that must be introduced to prevent health problems is dependent upon design and usage patterns.

Indoor Air Quality

  • An employee’s designated position within a facility can result in increased exposure.
  • Similarly, individuals pre-disposed to respiratory disease are at higher risk in improperly designed or poorly operated aquatic facilities.

Lifeguard Lung

Exposure to respirable aerosol particles

  • Compared to background levels in air:
  • fountains and waterfalls have been shown to cause a 1.4 fold increase in respirable aerosol particles
  • the addition of a slide or flume causes a 2.3 fold increase
  • the use of multiple spray devices in a facility can result in a 5.2 fold increase in respirable particle levels, and an 8 fold or greater increase in endotoxin levels.

Air Handling

  • Ventilation system
  • Installation
  • Sizing
  • Location.

Chlorine Gas Exposure

Chlorine and acid are common chemicals used in aquatic facilities. When injected individually into an operating circulation system, these chemicals must enter the water in a safe and controlled manner.

Failure of a circulation pump while chemical pumps remain active will result in chlorine and acid coming into contact prior to dispersion. This results in chlorine gas being created and released into the facility when the circulation systems comes back on-line. Staff and patrons in the facility will suffer from breathing difficulties and chemical burns to the respiratory system.

Chemical Exposure Sources

Chemical Handling

Staff who are required to work with chemicals used at aquatic facilities must:

  • Be trained in protocol for handling, storage, label identification and emergency response procedures for themselves and co-workers
  • Be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE’s) appropriate to the types of chemicals used on-site

Safe use of facilities

Any person who manages, operates, owns, builds, repairs or is responsible for an aquatic venue must abide by all pertinent local, state and federal laws, as well as regulations, codes-of-practice and standards of design and operation.

Clear message

Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14

Suction Entrapment

Risk Management


Created with images by eminens - "swimming pool cleaning robot" • tpsdave - "swimmers swimming race" • Pexels - "boy bubbles fun" • libookperson - "drowning"

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