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Let’s take a look at best practices for providing a healthy environment and comfort in the wellness centres and swimming pools of one of the world’s best educational institutions – the University of Cambridge.

We all know that health and safety together with risk assessment are extremely important. Each of us has a duty of care in this regard as well as a responsibility to understand our activities and to participate consciously taking appropriate safety measures if there appears to be a danger of creating a risk to others and to ourselves. What useful practices does the University of Cambridge advise us to implement?

First of all risk assessment

A risk assessment is a careful and thorough examination of potential threats to people, property, equipment, etc. It provides information on whether all necessary measures have been taken to ensure a safe environment or whether further work is needed in this direction.

What are the basic principles of risk assessment?

  • Hazard detection – anything that can cause harm
  • Assessment of who could potentially be injured – pool visitors, those working around the pool or other people
  • Assessing the risk and deciding whether the safety and health measures already in place are sufficient or whether more needs to be done
  • Recording the findings in a register
  • Assessment review and revision as needed

 

What do we mean when we talk about hazards?

Hazard is any possibility of something unpleasant happening – trouble, a threat. A hazard occurs when the interaction of something or someone creates a risk of harm.

  • Outdoors

It is very important to assess risk in outdoor sports. A careful risk assessment should be carried out prior to a sporting event to ensure a suitable and safe environment.

  • Establishing rules of conduct

Once a risk assessment has been carried out and the hazards have been identified, a list of guidelines and rules of conduct for everyone should be created and shared with the pool staff and visitors.

  • Inventory

Each centre offering wellness services and each pool should maintain a current list of available equipment. Equipment should be checked and the list should be updated regularly to ensure the safety of the equipment. New equipment should be added to the list and any equipment that is unserviceable should be removed from the inventory.

  • Maintenance of the equipment to ensure its safety

To ensure a safe and healthy environment in wellness centres and swimming pools, it should be guaranteed that available equipment is stored, operated and maintained in a safe manner. The following areas need to be addressed:

  • Storage

It should be ensured that equipment is stored under appropriate conditions to preserve its qualities and minimise the likelihood of damage or breakage. There should be clear instructions for the care of the equipment available to those responsible for its storage.

  • Equipment check

The equipment should always be checked carefully before use to ensure it is in good condition and fit for use. The employees in charge with checking the equipment should be informed and directed what to look for during the check.

  • Providing clear rules when renting equipment
  • Instructions in writing on how to rent equipment and take proper care of it
  • Procedure in case of damaged equipment

Damaged equipment should be separated and marked with a distinctive sign indicating that this equipment cannot be used.

  • Regular equipment maintenance

There should be a responsible person in charge of the equipment.

  • Preventive maintenance of the equipment

A regular safety check of the equipment should be carried out.

  • Disposal of old equipment

If the equipment is very old or unfit for use, it should be disposed of. It is important that the equipment is destroyed and disposed of in a manner that ensures it will not be found and used by another person as this could result in injury or accident. Records should be kept of how such equipment is destroyed or when and to whom it is handed over.

  • Unnecessary equipment

In the case of equipment that is fit for use but will not be used, it may not be handed over to another person unless it can be demonstrated that it is safe and serviceable.

  • Health and safety monitoring in wellness centres and swimming pools against University of Cambridge best practices

 

  • Safety Plan

A safety plan is drawn up annually. This provides a starting point for evaluating health and safety management in wellness centres and swimming pools and provides guidance for improvement in this area.

  • Safety inspections and audits

Every employee and official who is responsible for ensuring safety in the provision of wellness services should follow safety procedures. Each inspection should be recorded in a safety audit register which should be readily available on request from the responsible inspectorates.

The measures listed to ensure consumer safety are key but do not require much effort to create the conditions to comply with them. Let us not forget that prevention is always better than response.

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