Leisure centre didn’t have expected safety protocols in place that might have prevented tragedy…
A company involved in running a leisure centre in Essex faces a bill of almost £200,000 after a young girl tragically died in the pool at the Maldon Leisure Centre on 14 June 2008.
The girl had visited the leisure centre to attend a judo competition and was swimming with other children on the day of the tragedy.
There were two lifeguards on duty during the day the young girl died while another joined them when the girl was discovered in an unconscious state in the deep end of the pool by nearby swimmers. She was taken from the water and lifeguards attempted to resuscitate her but their attempts were in vain and the seven-year-old was pronounced dead at Colchester General Hospital later that day.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard that the company responsible for the pool had failed to implement the expected safety protocols associated with pool safety at the leisure centre.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the girl’s death discovered that the lifeguards were not in the appropriate positions to monitor all the people in the pool and moreover they were sometimes absent from duty which endangered the safety of those using the pool.
The company was fined £90,000 with prosecution costs amounting to £101,663 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE inspector Antonina Drury commented after the sentencing had been passed down:
“This tragic and untimely death should never have happened.
“Members of the public visiting leisure centre swimming pools have an entitlement to expect that the operator paid to run them will deploy and train its staff so as to provide sufficient numbers of life guards in the right places so as to operate the pool safely.
“In this case, the yougn girl was robbed of her chances of rescue and survival by the company’s failures.
“Evidence emerged in the course on the investigation that the company failed to identify and address the fact that the amount of life-guarding it was paying its staff to provide at the Leisure Centre was noticeably less than the amount it knew was required for full and safe operation of the pool.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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