Ask the Expert: Common Area Pool Safety Checklist

Louise Cook - Great American

Louise Cook, AVP of Loss Prevention at Great American

Pool season is almost upon us. Which means it’s time to invest in new sunscreen and pull the bathing suits out of winter storage. It’s also time to reassess pool safety, maintenance, and good risk management.

Community associations bear responsibility for common pool areas, a value-added amenity that serves as a great benefit to residents, but also a liability. Most pool injuries are minor in nature, but some serious ones can result in broken limbs, head or spinal injuries, even death. And if the community association is found to be at fault, damages can be severe.

“If someone wants to get into a pool in the evening, they’re probably going to be able to climb a fence and get in,” says Louise Cook, divisional assistant vice president for loss prevention at Great American Insurance. “The question is: What can the insured do to proactively minimize risk exposure?”

Lots of things, actually. Some questions you should be asking yourselves during warm-weather planning:

  • Assuming your pool does not require a lifeguard, does the apartment manager have the necessary training to clean and operate the pool?
  • Are there daily inspections to make sure that the pool is clean?
  • Do you have standard opening and closing inspections at the beginning and end of the day?
  • Are you keeping daily records of inspections?
  • Do you have safety equipment on site?
  • If someone does get hurt, what are the procedures?
  • Is anyone allowed in the pool when someone is not on duty?

Great American created this basic loss-prevention pamphlet on swimming pools to help you get started. Because we believe in the importance of pool safety—and have seen tragedy unfold when pool areas aren’t properly maintained—we also are working with Great American to develop risk management seminars for some of our Florida clients.

“It’s human nature that accidents happen,” Cook says. “But if you prove that you’ve taken the steps to help stop an accident, that goes a long way.”