Do I need to send my staff on a pool plant course?
We realise that it can be quite daunting for facility operators to establish what legal duties are placed upon them when it comes to training for pool plant operators. Here, we will simplify and outline what you need to be aware of. First, let’s take a look at what the law says (only the parts directly relevant to training have been included)…
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places the following duties on employers:
Section 2. General duties of employers to their employees.
…the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees.
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places the following duties on employers:
Regulation 13. Capabilities and training
…every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with adequate health and safety training.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 places the following duties on employers:
Regulation 12 Information, instruction and training for persons who may be exposed to substances hazardous to health
…every employer who undertakes work which is liable to expose an employee to a substance hazardous to health shall provide that employee with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph, the information, instruction and training provided under that paragraph shall include details of the substances hazardous to health to which the employee is liable to be exposed including i. the names of those substances and the risk which they present to health, ii. any relevant workplace exposure limit or similar occupational exposure limit, iii. access to any relevant safety data sheet, and iv. other legislative provisions which concern the hazardous properties of those substances.
In addition to the legal requirements set out above, the Health and Safety Executive have produced guidance to assist pool operators to manage their pool’s safety. The guidance document is called HSG 179 Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools. The following is what this guidance says about training for staff:
…relevant training will be required to provide pool operators with the necessary knowledge to effectively operate spa pools. Appendix 7 lists national bodies that can give advice on relevant training.
…the COSHH Regulations require that staff involved in the handling and use of chemicals should receive appropriate training and instruction. Even the most thorough arrangements to comply with the COSHH Regulations will fail unless all employees are aware of the risks associated with their work and how these risks can be avoided. (See Appendix 7 for training providers).
…the training for the safe operation and use of equipment and chemicals will need to be related specifically to the operation and maintenance of the particular plant, hazards associated with it, and substances used. Employees’ attention should be drawn to any manufacturers’ instructions, and copies made conveniently available (eg secured to the plant itself); be given to enough employees to ensure that plant need never be operated by untrained staff; include pool managers, to ensure they understand the functioning of the pool water system,including the plant and associated hazards, sufficiently to supervise safe operation; include the use, care and maintenance of personal protective equipment; require those who have been trained, to demonstrate that they can operate and maintain the plant safely.
…pool operators will need to check that staff understand and follow all procedures and responsibilities. Monitoring and review of the effectiveness of arrangements should then follow. Details of actual training sessions will need to be recorded and reviewed. Information, instruction, and training are the essential requirements for all staff involved in the storage, handling, and use of swimming pool chemicals.
…there are many ways to disinfect a pool, and the choice can seem complicated. The key considerations are: the efficacy of disinfection; compatibility with the source water supply (for fill and make-up); type and size of pool; bathing load, etc; operation of the pool; training and competency of staff.
…any system, whether manual or automatic, needs to be maintained. The operation, maintenance and modification of such systems need to be carried out by competent staff with appropriate training and experience. Systems to ensure this need to be devised and managed.
In conclusion and in light of the plethora of various legislation relevant to operating in this unique sector, we believe all operators of commercial wet-side facilities should be sending their staff onto industry recognised pool plant courses, rather than trying to deliver this training themselves.