WorkSafe Inspectors have recently visited swimming pools in the Melbourne area and issued a number of Improvement Notices in relation to the storage, handling and signage for dangerous goods. The main areas of non-compliance was the lack of adequate training and procedures for the management of dangerous goods. Other areas included the lack of outer warning placards at entry points to the site.
HAZCON has conducted a number of assessments for councils at their swimming pools and the areas identified as either non-compliant or need improvement were:
1. Generic procedures for handling corrosive and oxidising chemicals that do not specifically state what control measure should be implemented to control exposure. In addition, the procedures were not located at the point of use but were maintained on a computer system.
2. Failure to use ventilation as a primary means of controlling exposure to fugitive gases and dusts.
3. Inadequate or confusing selection of Personal Protective Equipment.
a. Half face respirators fitted with inorganic gas filters, ostensibly for when Hydrochloric Acid or Calcium Hypochlorite are used. The filters had been exposed to air for greater than 12 months.
b. Inadequate training in the use for respirators.
c. Protective gloves without chemical resistance performance.
d. Mixed selection of eye protection.
4. Over placarding of storage and plant rooms. Some of this over placarding would appear to be a result of external bodies providing signage based solely on the presence of a dangerous goods, not whether it exceeds the placarding threshold.
5. Safety Data Sheets not being readily available.
There were some good aspects of chemical management including secure storage of bulk Sodium Hypochlorite, securing of Carbon Dioxide gas cylinders, emergency showers, and general separation of incompatible chemicals.
Overall, the training provided to swimming pool duty managers and life guards would appear to be limited to controlling water quality, not the safe management of pool chemicals.