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23rd June 2016

Hot Tubs and Spa Pools: The Health & Safety Risks hoteliers, holiday companies and gymnasiums should be aware of…

It’s the summer holiday season and hot tubs and spa pools are a great way to create the wow factor at any hotel or holiday accommodation. They make the brochure pictures look great and conjure images in the customer’s mind of the perfect relaxing break.

However, these facilities do not come without additional Health & Safety implications and the potential for civil liability claims against the owner.

Some of the risks that can be posed by hot tubs and spa pools include:

  • Legionella – the potential for bacteria to grow and infect those using the water system
  • Slips trips and falls – wet and slippery steps and pool surrounds are notorious for creating Public Liability insurance claims
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) – chemicals used in both cleaning and water treatments present a risk to users and maintenance staff
  • The risk of drowning

All of these risks need to be considered during installation and for continued maintenance with appropriate control measures implemented to minimise exposures.

Of these risk factors, perhaps the most lethal is Legionella – a strain of bacteria which can lead to the potentially fatal Legionnaires disease. A hot tub or spa pool constitutes the ideal location for bacteria to collect and breed in warm conditions with lots of hidden surfaces and pipework.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Public Health England have published specific guidance on controlling the risk of infection in hot tubs and spa pools.

Furthermore, duty holders should be aware of what type of equipment they are buying and its intended use. There are differences between domestic and commercial use equipment with domestic equipment not carrying the same automated chemical controls as commercial tubs. Businesses that buy domestic equipment and install it for customer use could come under pressure from enforcing authorities.

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