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Managing drowning risks at publicly accessible pools

Issued: 17 January 2011
Last Updated: 5 January 2011

Swimming pools are used mainly by children and young people as an avenue for having fun. While the death of anyone from drowning is a tragedy, the death of a child or a young person is catastrophic.

There are substantial penalties in the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (Act) if it is found that a pool operator has not taken adequate steps to prevent a person drowning.

See Managing risks at publicly accessible pools (PDF, 0.21 MB) for an information guide for owners, operators and controllers of public swimming pools.

The Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA) has developed guidelines, in consultation with the aquatics industry across Australia, to provide advice to the industry on the minimum requirements to prevent or minimise the risk of drowning in publicly accessible pools.

The guidelines cover:

  • Safe Pool Operations

Guidance for pool operators as a minimum standard for operating their pools.

  • Water Safety

Guidance for aquatic environments operated by bodies corporate, hotels, motels, camping and caravan grounds, commercial learn to swim schools and school pools and aquatic environments that are part of urban water developments.

  • Water Safety - Body Corporate Pools

Guidance for aquatic amenities such as residential units, apartment blocks, high rise style apartments and retirement villages.

  • Water Safety - Hotel, Motel, Camping and Caravan Grounds

Guidance for any swimming pool and/or spa facility within a resort, hotel, motel, camping of caravan ground environment.

  • Water Safety - Commercial Learn to Swim and School Pools

Guidance for any swimming pool and/or spa facility within a commercial learn to swim environment of a swimming pool or a pool located at a school.

  • Water Safety - Urban Water Developments

Guidance for purpose-built water environments near or around areas where the general public may go, e.g. parkland and reserves.

The guidelines are available at Royal Life Saving Society - Australia website.

The RLSSA also produces a number of fact sheets and national polices to assist swimming pool operators and inspectors.

The policies are approved by the Royal Life Saving National Council and are reviewed at regular intervals.

Copies of the fact sheets can be found at:

Copies of the policies can be found at: