Aquatic facility safety

aquatic centre swimming pool with giant inflatable device 

Each year, Royal Life Saving WA conducts safety assessments at Group 1 aquatic facilities to ensure a high standard of industry safety. It is encouraging to see overall safety assessment scores trending upwards, with the average safety rating in 2018-19 being 95.96%.

There are 12 major components that are assessed, each comprising a series of individual criteria. The first 7 components are mandatory across all Group 1 facilities, with components 8-12 applicable to certain centres depending on which features they possess.

Mandatory components:

1. GENERAL ADMINISTRATION (11 criteria) - For example, 'Does the centre have a Dept of Health 'permit to operate' as a Group 1 facility?'

2. DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION (46 criteria) - For example, 'Is there sufficient signage identifying deep water (>1.8m), and shallow water particularly at pool entry points?'

In 2018-19, water depth signage was once again identified as an area needing improvement. This criterion, along with emergency exit signage visibility in any light conditions, received the lowest pass rate of this component.

3. CIRCULATION & WATER TREATMENT (26 criteria) - In 2018-19 the average score for this component was 98.73% across WA pools that were assessed.

4. CHEMICAL SAFETY (20 criteria) - This was another area for improvement identified during 2018-19. Royal Life Saving WA is working to provide additional training options to aquatic facilities to help improve safety scores for this component.

5. WATER QUALITY & TESTING (10 criteria) - All metropolitan pools assessed during 2018-19 scored 100% for this component. The average score across both metro and regional pools was 99.46%.

6. QUALIFICATION FOR OPERATORS, SUPERVISORS & EMERGENCY CARE PERSONNEL (3 criteria) - All pools in the metro area scored 100% for this component, while the average score at regional pools was 96.7%.

7. GENERAL SANITATION & OPERATION (25 criteria) - The average score across metro and regional pools for this component was 95.89%.

Feature-specific components:

8. SPECIAL FEATURE POOL (43 criteria) - Average scores for this component were 86.81% for regional pools and 97.91% for the Perth metro area. Criteria that was commonly failed related to the facility not having completed a risk assessment of the device and not having operational procedures for use of the device (e.g. patron limits, dress code, activity controls and evacuation due to deflation).

9. SPA POOL (16 criteria) - All metro pools passed this component, whole regional pools recorded a disappointing average score of just 50%.

10. WATER SLIDE (14 criteria) - All metro pools assessed scored 100% for this component, while regional pools scored a very low average score of just 45%.

11. HYDROTHERAPY POOL (4 criteria) - All pools assessed scored 100% for this component.

12. WATER SPRAY GROUNDS (19 criteria) - Regional pools all scored 100%, while Perth metro pools recorded a significant reduction in their average score of 66.7% for this component.

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