As the weather heats up, make sure you’re ready by double (and then triple) checking electricity around water to keep your members safe.
In the news recently, there have been many stories concerning electrical shock hazards around swimming pools and docks. Electricity and water can be a deadly combination if electrical systems are not maintained properly; according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), they have reported 21 electrocutions since 2002 in swimming pools. And, this hazard isn’t limited to just swimming pools.
Docks, spas, hot tubs and more will present similar hazards that swimming pools present. Electrical systems need to be maintained in and around these areas where you may find electricity near the water, which also include:
- Underwater lighting or dock lighting
- Pool pumps and filters
- Electrical outlets
- Extension cords
- Any electrical products (radios, televisions, etc.)
Taking Action to Protect Your Members
You can do reduce the likelihood of an electrical issue affecting your pool(s) by taking the necessary precautions. Most jurisdictions only require electrical inspections during the construction or when renovations are undertaken around the pool/dock, and there are no guidelines concerning electrical inspections at other times. However, with the electrical wiring and conduit being exposed to adverse conditions (chlorine, rain, extreme temperatures, etc.), you should take it upon your organization to be proactive.
We suggest the following:
- Have the electrical wiring inspected every few years by a qualified electrician to make sure your infrastructure meets applicable codes and the National Electric Code (NEC). It is recommended to check every motor for the pools every year by a licensed electrician. This is a minor expense for a sense of security
- For docks, consider purchasing a dock lifeguard to detect electricity on and around the docks
- The staff should know where all the electrical switches and circuit breakers are pool equipment are located and how to shut them off
- Electrical equipment near water should be protected with Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI’s) and you should follow the National Electric Code (NEC)
- GFI’s should be tested monthly, the exception is that portable or cord connected GFI’s should be tested daily, before use
Being proactive can reduce the likelihood of serious injuries. As the weather heats up, be sure your pools and other water sources are ready and safe.