Nonprofits, like YMCAs and YWCAs for example, that are dedicated to promoting health and wellness in their communities will want to offer a number of programs and activities to help individuals achieve their fitness goals. One of the most popular and most common fitness features to offer is a swimming pool. For patrons, the pool is a place to combine fun with fitness. If operational and safety standards aren’t met, however, the swimming pool can present a number of risks to both the organization and its community members.
If proper chemical and pH levels are not maintained, for example, swimmers could be at risk of coming into contact with a virus or other illness that can be transmitted through water. All pool staff members need to be trained on how and at what intervals to check chemical and pH levels and what to do if levels become off balance in order to keep the water safe to swim in. Community centers should also be aware of their state health department’s regulations regarding certifications for pool operators.
The pool deck can easily become a slip, trip, or fall waiting to happen just by being wet. This is why it is important to make sure that members walk slowly and carefully. Community centers should also make sure to keep the pool deck area free of anything else that could cause a slip or a trip, such as water hoses or mats.
Pools are often places that pose the risk of a head injury. Each year, we hear reports of swimmers diving into shallow waters and suffering a traumatic head, neck, or back injury, or worse. Signage should be posted in very visible places around the pool letting swimmers know whether or not diving is allowed in a certain area or not at all, and these rules should be strictly enforced by lifeguards.
One of the biggest risks that comes with a pool is the risk of drowning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those at the greatest risk are males, children between the ages of one and four, and minorities. To prevent drowning, your pool should be staffed with certified lifeguards who are trained on how to scan the pool, recognize swimmers in distress and act accordingly. They should also be instructed to rotate posts as necessary so that all swimmers can be monitored at all times. Additionally, the deep end of the pool should be clearly marked so non-swimmers know their boundaries. Community centers can even consider requiring swim tests for younger or first-time swimmers or simply encourage swimming lessons or lifejackets.
This is just scratching the surface. There are a number of other health and safety considerations to think about when operating a pool at your facility. In addition to those listed above, you should also make sure your facility is covered with the right types of insurance, such as general liability. Lamb Financial Group is here to help you with your nonprofit insurance needs. Contact us to learn more about our offerings.