Prevent incidents in aquatic facilities by keeping them clean, dry, and well-marked

With pools of water, slippery areas and hard surfaces, aquatic facilities can be either fun or dangerous depending on your level of preparation. Preventative maintenance and proper signage can keep accidents at bay.

Most incidents happen when people run or fool around on slippery surfaces, dive into shallow water, collide with other swimmers or objects, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when they aren’t familiar with the facility. Some major accidents have also happened as a result of kids held underwater by drain suction.

You can prevent incidents by keeping facilities as clean, dry, and well-marked as possible. Be sure to:

● Clearly mark water depths
● Post signs for proper use and safety
● Keep water clean and clear
● Take action if someone appears to be under the influence
● Discourage running and horseplay
● Test drains for suction

Keep in mind that contracting operations to a third party transfers risk to them as well. With the right considerations, you’ll be able to keep your aquatic facilities safe and fun for the entire community.

Clear signage reduces liability in aquatic facilities

While some pool rules may seem like common sense, you can never be too cautious. Posting clear guidelines in easy-to-read, appropriate locations leaves less room for misinterpretation and lowers the chance of being missed or ignored.

Without proper signage, visitors may be unaware of some or all risks associated with using the facility. To avoid potential incidents, here are some sample instructions we recommend posting where they’re easy to see:

Message How it lowers risk The maximum number of bathers allowed in the pool at any one time Reduces the chance of collisions or inability to evacuate in an emergency Where diving is and isn’t permitted Lowers the risk of head injury from diving into shallow water That running and horseplay aren’t permitted Reduces the chance of slipping or crashing Where hazards like depth changes and/or slippery decks exist Makes hazard locations very clear How to safely use recreational equipment Ensures visitors know how to prevent falls and crashes on climbing walls, slides and more If toys and flotation devices are allowed Makes sure parents are paying attention to their children and lowers the risk of relying on a non-approved device for flotation The locations of exit and evacuation routes Lowers the risk of visitors getting trapped or trampled in the case of an emergency That visitors must shower before entering the pool area, that anyone with communicable diseases or infections can’t use the pool, and that polluting the water (spitting, urinating, etc.) is prohibited Reduces the risk of transmitting infections, viruses, and other concerns detrimental to public health 

This is just a sample of messages you should consider mounting to communicate the facility’s risks and rules. While some people may still choose to ignore the signs, you’re greatly reducing the chance of injury by making a clear effort.

Maintenance, safe swimming areas, and clear signage are the best ways to prevent injury at aquatic facilities

Where there’s people, water and concrete, there’s the potential for injury. Whether it’s running and slipping, diving into shallow water, or eye and skin irritation from chlorine, accidents can happen.

Here are the three best ways to prevent injuries at aquatic facilities:

Good design and maintenance: Use non-slip surfaces on pool decks, ladders, walkways, and locker room floors, mopping slippery surfaces regularly. Install ground fault interrupters, testing them monthly. Make sure drain covers are firmly attached and that a pump shut-off is easily accessible.

Safe swimming areas: 

  • Use a light coloured pool floor, equipping it with proper lighting and painting lines to provide contrast. 
  • Make sure the water is clear so the bottom is visible. 
  • Mark water depths (clearly, in metres) at maximum and minimum points, where a slope begins, and in between. 
  • Only allow diving in roped-off areas where the depth exceeds 3 metres. 
  • Make sure properly trained lifeguards are on duty at all times, and provide flotation devices for swimmers. 
  • Don’t forget to keep emergency equipment, phones, and phone numbers in reach.


  • Make sure rules and warnings are clear, easy-to-read, and current. Identify potential hazards, exit routes and emergency gear, and explain how to use recreational equipment.
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