Fighting the hot temps and Indiana humidity can be tough, but a trip to your local swimming pool always seems to do the trick. However the owners and operators of these oases need to follow local, state and federal laws to keep guests safe. Here’s a description of what rules Indiana public pools need to follow and how to keep an eye out for potential risks and hazards at the public pool.
Lifeguards to Protect Pool Guests
Though not all states do the same, the state of Indiana specifically requires that a qualified lifeguard must be on duty at all public pools. Any semi-public pools over 2000 square feet at hotels, apartment complexes, and gyms must hire lifeguards as well. In order for a lifeguard to be considered “qualified” in the State of Indiana, they must have received certification in general lifeguard training; know CPR for adults, children, and infants; and be certified in First Aid. State legislation determines the number of lifeguards that must be on duty per the number of swimmers at the pool:
- 0–75: 1 Lifeguard
- 76–150: 2 Lifeguards
- 151–225: 3 Lifeguards
- 226–300: 4 Lifeguards
- 301–375: 5 Lifeguards
This means that as your local pool gets busier during the day, more lifeguards should start showing up. Otherwise, a few lifeguards may not be able to keep an eye on everyone, creating high risk for an accident.
Signage to Indicate Pool Rules
Though they’re a source of fun, public pools can pose hazardous risks to people’s safety. For that reason, Indiana has laws about what types of warning signs need to be posted at the pool. All public and semi-public pools must have the following signage in these various spots around the premises.
DANGER – HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS: Must be posted on or near the entrances to room where chemicals are stored or used.
Warning – No Lifeguard on Duty: These signs apply to semi-public pools
No Swimming Alone. Children Under 14 Years of Age and Non-swimmers Shall Not Use the Pool Unless Accompanied by a Responsible Adult: This is a common sign for any state, and as such will need to be posted around Indiana pools.
POOL CLOSED: These signs only need to hang after hours or during unexpected closings.
No Diving: A very important sign, these should be displayed in all spots that water is 5 feet deep or less, or anywhere else diving is not allowed
Other Indiana Pool Safety Requirements
Pool owners and operators need to have a way to monitor and control those who enter and use the grounds. All pools, both public and semi-public, are required to be wholly enclosed by a barrier which is no less than six feet high, uses lockable gates that are equipped with both self-closing and self-latching mechanisms, and do not have any openings greater than four inches in diameter.
Additionally, there’s some concern over the possibility of injury due to the pool’s suction system. As a way of filtering the water, a drain system uses a vacuum-like suction to clear away foreign items and keep water cycling. This effect can be so intense and powerful, that it may hold a swimmer at the bottom of a pool. The suction could be equal to hundreds of pounds of pressure and lead to serious injury or even death. These incidents can affect pool guests of any age, but most are most likely to involve children because of their small size. Following the death of a 7-year old girl in 2007, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, which dictates all public pools should use compliant drain covers. The curved design of these covers helps prevent swimmers from becoming trapped.
Chemical Levels and Chlorine Allowed in a Pool
A majority of public pools are unsanitary, even if they’re also fun. A study by the Center for Disease Control found 80% of public pools had at least one health or safety violation. 58% of samples collected from filters at public pools tested positive for E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both bacteria can cause significant illness.
Indiana requires very precise levels of chlorine and disinfectants based on the number of active swimmers to keep pools clean. Pool maintenance staff need to be acutely aware of the precise amounts being used in the water. While the chemicals themselves are necessary, too much can cause illness rather than prevent it. When you’re at the pool, the following symptoms could mean you or a loved one are being overexposed to chlorine:
- A rapid onset of stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting
- Burning in throat
- Itchy, burning, or excessively red eyes
- Difficulty or shallow breathing
- Skin inflammation and/or redness
- Dull chest pain.
The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie & Lee want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. If you or a loved one have been the victim of improper signage, an understaffed lifeguard team, poor fencing, or improper chemical usage at a public or semi-public pool and believe you have a case, contact us today for a free consultation.