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96-97 ENERGY & US LAW:SPN Master pages 15/1/09 16:54 Page 3
spnfeature
BRITAIN’S UNREGULATED
INDUSTRY IS
EXPOSED AGAIN!
Allen J Wilson says that the new United States law which makes anti-
entrapment drain covers compulsory has again exposed the deficiencies
of the UK system where there are few laws but an awful lot of guidance
hy don’t we drink and drive? item. Another death which raised concern recommendations even though they
W
The funny answer is “we may was Abigail Taylor. Abigail had part of her contravene section 3.1 of the MHSAWR
spill it!” The right answer is intestinal tract torn out when she sat on a 92/99 because they know they are not
“we may hurt somebody.” faulty paddling pool drain at a being policed.
The truthful but cynical answer is “we may Minneapolis Golf Club. She received a What we do have as regards law is the
get caught and disqualified from driving!” small bowel, liver and pancreas transplant ‘catch all’ from section 3.1 of the
The Road Traffic Act is well policed and in December 2007 and had suffered a Management of Health and Safety at Work
so it should be. number of serious setbacks since, Regs 92/99 and this states that; as an
Swimming pools and spas are a whole including a cancerous condition employer, the law requires you to assess
different matter. sometimes triggered by organ transplants and manage health and safety risks and
There are no laws, just guidance from and sadly died on the March 19 2008. that is it.
the Health & Safety Executive, Pool Water We had similar instances in the last 15 Every month now the HSE release on
Treatment Advisory Group, the British years but no new laws were introduced. their excellent website (www.hse.gov.uk)
Standards Institute and a few others. I am still coming across numerous the ‘myth of the month’ and this month’s
At Eastwood Pool in Giffnock in pools with just a single sump outlet is, ’If you call HSE for help, you’ll end up
Glasgow there was a Cryptosporidium where the risk is still unacceptably high. with an unwanted inspection.’ No chance!
outbreak in August 2003. Following this a Have the EHO or the HSE been there? Last year I spent some time working
team led by public health consultant Dr Probably not and if they had, would they, abroad, Gibraltar, France, Dubai, and last
Helen Irvine, found the pool purification in fact recognise the risk? In most cases but not least the US. One thing I would
system had numerous faults. probably not. certainly recommend is that if you are
The report on this outbreak was finally I am basing this upon the number of going out there to work in pools and/or
published last year, five years after the HSE and/or EHO officers I have had attend spas is to set your watch back 20 years
incident and three years after the Pool Plant training courses. They need to because they are way behind us in pool
promised date, hardly conducive to a be proactive not reactive, they need to get purification.
prompt resolution. I would like to draw out there and inspect facilities. How many They are still slinging any ol’ stuff in the
your attention to a comment made by Dr pools in the UK are deeper than 1.5m and water.
Helen Irvine who said words to the effect are still not lifeguarded, contrary to the
that, “the swimming pool industry was guidance in HSG179 published about Allen J Wilson’s book; Wilson’s
weakly regulated with unenforceable fifteen years ago. Essential Pool & Spa Plant
guidelines.” These pool operators, who would not Handbook is published in the
Basically, no laws just guidance and this even consider driving after they had a few Spring. Chapter One is available at
as she claimed was unenforceable. pints, are prepared to risk lives by ignoring www.studiesinwork.co.uk
But in the United States at least they
have laws, and a commendable one that
has just been introduced is the Virginia
“I WOULD LIKE TO DRAW YOUR
Graham Baker Law that ensures that sump
pool outlets are safe and bathers will not
ATTENTION TO A COMMENT MADE
become entrapped. On December 19 last
year the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and
BY DR HELEN IRVINE WHO SAID
Spa Safety Act requires that all public
swimming pools and spas be equipped
WORDS TO THE EFFECT THAT, THE
with anti-entrapment drain covers that
comply with the US equivalent of the
SWIMMING POOL INDUSTRY WAS
British Standards Institute.
Graeme Baker was the granddaughter
WEAKLY REGULATED WITH
of James Baker, a former US Secretary of
State so her death was a high profile news
UNENFORCEABLE GUIDELINES”
Visit our website at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk FEBRUARY 09 swimming pool news 97
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