While some community association pools remain closed, others are open, under new, socially distant protocol. Ensuring that residents are safe from COVID-19 is likely at the forefront of community association owners’ minds, but the possibility of an injury caused by unsafe pool and spa practices is still an important consideration. In addition to a full-coverage insurance package, taking precautionary measures to prevent future injuries from occurring is imperative. Here are a few safety tips to share with your insureds who are opening outdoor aquatic facilities this summer:
Pool Drain Safety
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was passed in 2008 with the goal of preventing drain entrapments and eviscerations in pools and spas. As the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14 in the United States, the risk of drowning can be greatly mitigated with proper drain safety procedures as outlined by the Pool and Spa Safety Act. So what does that entail? The answer is the installation of an anti-entrapment device that is acceptable under the act, with specific emphasis on a safety vacuum release system. For the full list of anti-entrapment devices accredited by the American National Standards Institute and published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, view our Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act bulletin.
Inform Pool Guests with Signage and Pool Depth Markings
Whether your guests are enjoying a condominium pool or hotel spa, signage and depth markings cannot be overlooked. Diving restrictions, pool and spa rules, and swim at your own risk signs can all be necessary depending on the pool or spa environment at hand. While diving administration codes vary by state, The American Red Cross recommends a minimum of 9 feet of water depth for headfirst dives — a good rule to follow for any pool that does not meet this depth is to post a “No diving” sign. Similarly, a pool that has a depth greater than five inches must be marked along the bottom of the pool in a contrasting color.
Reduce Fall Risks with Slip-Resistant Surfaces
Slick and slippery pool decks present a major hazard for anyone using pool or spa facilities, even when enforcing “No running” rules. While wet surfaces surrounding the area are unavoidable, inspecting the grounds for uneven exterior is a preventative measure that will reduce the risk associated with water-affected concrete. Consider taking these precautions one step further by installing slip-resistant surface materials to areas that are in the “splash zone.”
Enforce Adult Supervision
Pools and spas are a huge attraction for children of all ages, but that doesn’t mean they are free to swim in while unsupervised. Although there is no specific rule across the board that states the legal age in which a child can swim without adult supervision, many operations follow the minimum age for Red Cross lifeguard training eligibility, which is 15 years old. Well-enforced pool and spa rules and a highly-trained lifeguard (if lifeguard hiring is part of your insured’s pool and spa protocol) will reduce swimming-related injuries and could save a life.
Utilize and Safely Store Water Treatment Chemicals
Any pool operator knows that water treatment chemicals are necessary for maintaining pool health and preventing unsanitary bacteria. However, failing to safely use and store these chemicals can result in an injury for a staff member or guest. Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, it is required that containers are properly labeled, material safety data sheets are available, and employees are trained to use the chemicals present at your insured’s pool facility.
Install Safety Equipment
Proper safety equipment should be a pool and spa safety staple, regardless of whether or not a lifeguard is present. A layered approach to the installation of safety instruments is highly recommended, prioritizing essential equipment such as a life ring, shepherd’s and first aid kit. Additionally, a locking hot tub cover, exit and fence alarms, and emergency contact information will mitigate the risk of injury.
Pools and spas certainly up the luxury factor at hotels and condos, but with the added amenity comes certain risks that your insureds must address. By following the aforementioned pool and spa safety tips, your insureds can help save lives and prevent injury claims. Learn more about Distinguished’s Umbrella Coverage for condos and Hotel Umbrella policies that will protect against lawsuits when and if they do occur.