Inflatable Safety

lifeguard supervising giant inflatable at public swimming pool

Giant inflatable devices are a popular attraction at public swimming pools, but findings presented in the Bigger Better Safer Report 2017-18 highlighted some concerns around the safety management of these devices.

Of the ‘Special Feature Pools’ assessed during 2017-18, those in the Perth metropolitan area scored lower than their regional counterparts. The most commonly failed criteria related to the use of inflatable devices.

Specifically, many centres failed to have completed a risk assessment of the device and its intended use and were lacking operational procedures for evacuation due to deflation, patron limits, environmental conditions, dress code and activity controls.

In addition to improving operational procedures and risk assessment regarding inflatables, it’s also important that there is a suitable number of trained and qualified stuff on duty to supervise an inflatable session.

Lifeguards should always:

  • Have a clear view of the equipment, the surrounding water and underneath the equipment.
    Some inflatables restrict visibility, and lifeguards should be aware of the possibility of a patron experiencing difficulty in an obscured part of the pool or underneath the structure.
  • Enforce the rules relating to the equipment and curb boisterous behaviour immediately.
    Rough play can increase the risk of collisions as well as potentially interfering with anchor ropes, air pipes or fans.
  • Only allow swimmers of similar age to use the equipment at the same time.
  • Ensure any sharp or dangerous objects are not worn by patrons while on the inflatable.
    Items that should be removed include buckles, pens, keys and spectacles

Signs stating the rules for usage should be placed close to the entry to the inflatable.

It is recommended that there be a minimum of two suitably trained and qualified staff supervising any obstacle courses incorporating inflatables. One should be responsible for controlling dispatch onto the inflatable at the start of the course, while the other supervises the users from the time of entry until they are clear of the pool.



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