Swimming, gym and outdoor safety
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. This guide is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law in England. If you require precise or detailed information on the legislation mentioned in this guide, or on the legal implications for you in particular, you should consult a professional legal adviser.
- There are no specific regulations on swimming pool or gym safety, but you must manage these activities so they comply with health and safety legislation.
- Anyone who sells adventure activities intended for young people under 18 must be inspected and licensed under the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004.
Swimming and gym safety
Drownings in swimming pools in the UK are rare. However, this does not mean that you should not pay particular attention to the safety of guests and staff around pool areas.
General legislation that applies
Currently there is no specific legislation on swimming pool or gym safety. These are covered by general health and safety regulations. Your main responsibility as a pool or gym operator, in relation to the safety of your guests or clients, is to be found in the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. See the sections on the 'Health and Safety at Work Act' and 'Safety management' for more information.
Safety in swimming pools is a complex subject and should be studied closely by those who manage them. A thorough risk assessment should be carried out, and amongst other things this will determine whether constant supervision is needed. This risk assessment should include topics such as:
- slipping and tripping
- water depth and any changes of level
- water clarity
- the availability of alcohol or likelihood of swimming after drinking
- child protection issues
- unsupervised children
- hazards in changing areas
- life-saving equipment
- rescue and emergency arrangements.
Guidance on swimming pools
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a very useful guide, Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools, which provides detailed guidance on the risks associated with swimming pool operation and the precautions which may be taken to help achieve a safer environment. It also covers supervision and signage.
The guide draws on legislation from the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.