facts and case studies relating to these hazards

Facts and Case Studies Relating to these Hazards

IMPORTANT facts and case studies relating to these hazards

There are thousands of unsafe pools around the world in hotels, leisure centres, holiday parks and people’s homes. Most pool owners or management are totally ignorant of these entrapment risks to their customers.

Children are often the victims because they are naturally inquisitive about everything and play in the current created by outlets, sometimes with fatal results.

Pool suction systems can range from 1 horsepower to 12 horsepower or more and once entrapped in a pool suction system, it’s almost impossible to escape.

Recent research in Germany showed that the pool industry underestimated the real number of such tragedies because hotel owners had paid compensation to victims families to avoid adverse publicity. Some well-known hotels have been found guilty in this respect and caused fatalities.

In the 1st decade of this century in the USA, there were 106 reported entrapment cases with 12 fatalities and 89 people needing hospital treatment – some for serious injuries which in some cases would have been life-changing.

Recent cases include:

  • A 6-year-old boy who died after being entrapped by his arm.
  • A 14-year-old girl who died in a hotel pool in Tunisia.
  • A 14-year-old boy who was trapped by the suction drain and was retrieved from the pool unconscious and suffered a 4-hour operation to save his life.
  • A 6-year-old girl in a holiday pool in Lanzarote was entrapped by her hair, which was torn from her scalp. Despite this awful experience, this young girl is, in fact, lucky that she did not drown.
  • In a recent case, children managed to remove the covers from pool outlets and entrapped themselves (the Kormo-safe outlet is tamper-proof).
  • Last year a 4-year-old British girl became entrapped in a spa bath in Bulgaria and endured a 4 hr operation on her intestines to save her life.
  • In 2016 a 9 yr old girl died as a result of being entrapped on the suction outlet of a water slide at an aqua park in Brazil.

There are many more harrowing examples.

Outlets ought to comply with BS EN & Spata standards PWTAG guidelines. The standard for outlets and inlets is BS EN 13451-1.

The Kormo- safe system domestic version, incorporates the two outlets 2m apart as required by standards and has anti-vortex plates to prevent hair entrapment. It is designed with large pipework to reduce velocity when using typical domestic pumps and the commercial version at 3.2 metres has more and larger pipe spigots. It’s also the pool designer’s responsibility to specify pumps and pipework to create acceptable safe velocities (per the standards).

Hotel pools should be thoroughly checked daily for damaged or tampered grilles, blocked outlets etc.

Domestic pools should also be checked weekly when in use. A hair entrapment test should be carried out on all pools before commissioning.

Dangers of a Pool Circulation System Suction Entrapment and Hair Entanglement

Dangers of a Pool Circulation System: Suction Entrapment and Hair Entanglement

Dangers of a Pool Circulation System: Suction Entrapment and Hair Entanglement

Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA): 2 June 2017

As we’ve sadly seen in the news this week with a six-year-old British girl almost drowning when her hair was sucked into a swimming pool filter at a hotel in Lanzarote, mismanagement of a pool’s circulation system has serious repercussions on users if not properly risk assessed.

In response, Robbie Phillips, STA’s lead pool plant expert, raises the issue again to warn operators about the dangers, and so to avoid a repeat of incidents like this.

Commercial swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools, wading/paddling pools, interactive water features, whirlpools, and spas all have one thing in common – a circulation system. This means that water must leave the pool and then re-enter at another point following filtering and disinfection. This, in turn, means water being pulled under suction from the pool. The design and on-going management of these systems is imperative to ensure the safety of users.

The two main dangers are as follows.

Suction Entrapment

Single drains are a danger  The present means of trying to deal with this risk in the pool industry and in Spata standards is the inclusion of two sumps, set 2 metres apart (two sumps are better than one but Aqua blue Ltd has proved that this system can easily fail, leaving bathers seriously at risk. See earlier comments re blocked drains.)

There should be sufficient open water area. If one drain becomes blocked then the other can still divert a proportion of flow to prevent a vacuum being formed, this still represents a hazard. Ideally, these bottom drains should have raised large centres or other purpose designed grilles to prevent a bather sealing the entire drain with their body.

There is a  mechanical device available, as an add-on which has a pressure sensor designed to react to the change of pressure when someone gets entrapped and switch the pump off in the plant room.  We at aqua blue Ltd prefer to design the pool as safe in the 1st instance.

Suction entrapment occurs when a swimmer, usually a small child, is trapped by the suction forces created by the water rushing out of the drain at the bottom of the pool (human flesh is, unfortunately, able to form a perfect seal!). In some cases, swimmers have been trapped underwater until they drowned and in other cases, they have suffered serious injuries to various parts of their bodies including the bowel.

The bottom drain suction risk can be seriously increased if water levels drop below skimmer/scum trough overflow system as both are considered suction lines – this is with a single bottom drain. A single suction line is a high-risk system. If this occurs, and the surface draw offline is isolated to prevent air getting into the system, for example, then all suction water from the pool will be through the single bottom drain, increasing its suction and velocity. No pool should ever be run on bottom drain alone due to the danger of suction entrapment and/or possible hair entanglement on the bottom or side of the pool/spa tank. Flow meter testing to enable you to comprehensively risk assess this danger in your pool can be accomplished using specific technical equipment. There are also simple methods to see if a vacuum forms on any suction outlet line.

Examples of Potential Sources of Suction Entrapment

  • Incorrect operation
  • Incorrect fittings
  • Poor design of drain outlets and covers
  • Insufficient number of drains
  • Creation of one line suction to main or ancillary circulation pumps
  • All fittings made secure so they cannot be removed
  • All one line suctions eliminated or valves locked to prevent the creation of one line suctions
  • Velocities from outlets not adhering to recommended rates
  • Broken grids (a potentially lethal problem)
  • Hair Entanglement

In spas mainly, and also pools, the danger of hair entanglement is very real. When bathers swim too close to bottom drains or suction outlets of incorrect design or place their heads underwater in a spa too close to water outlets where a vortex is formed, their hair may become entangled in the grilles/outlets. In a spa, this danger is increased by the narrow suction pipework often increasing velocity and also the design of the outlets which often moves in a circular motion (vortex) aiding entanglement.

If a bather becomes trapped, often the only way to free them is to cut the hair, it is surprising to note is that scissors do not work efficiently underwater, and often a knife is the only implement that will suffice. It has also been noted that any fitting with these design defects at a specific outlet fitting will potentially cause this entanglement – e.g. main circulating and/or booster pumps.

It is therefore imperative that all involved in the design, manufacture and construction should work to produce a safe facility. It is essential that knowledgeable pool contractors and consultants are employed. The operator should also be fully trained and aware of the potential dangers, and continuously risk assesses the operation of critical valves, line velocities and fittings etc.

Pool filter trapped my daughter by her hair mum warns

Pool filter ‘trapped my daughter by her hair’, mum warns

Pool filter ‘trapped my daughter by her hair’, mum warns

BBC News: 1 June 2017

A six-year-old British girl almost drowned when her hair was sucked into a swimming pool filter at a hotel in Lanzarote, her mother has said.

Darcey Morgan, from Leeds, fell unconscious when she was trapped underwater for more than two minutes.

Her mother Alex said fellow holidaymakers helped to pull her daughter to safety.

Travel company First Choice said it had launched a “full and thorough investigation” into the incident.

Mrs Morgan, 32, from Leeds, said the “terrifying” incident happened while she and her husband Gareth, 35, were on staying at the H10 Rubicon Palace, in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, with their three children in April.

Her daughter was given CPR by the poolside before being rushed to hospital in Arrecife where she was kept overnight.

“It took over two minutes to get her hair free, by which time she was unconscious. She was blue,” said Mrs Morgan.

“There are no words for what I was feeling. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.”

She said her daughter lost four clumps of hair but had made a full recovery.

She said she reported to the incident to the hotel but the management “did nothing”.

“The swimming pool was not closed, the waterfall and the filter remained on,” she said.

After the incident, she said other people told her they had reported the filter to staff and said one boy had got his swimming trunks sucked into the device two days earlier.

First Choice said it had received no other reports and said that the device had been switched off as soon as it was made aware of the incident.

Mrs Morgan, who highlighted the incident on Facebook, said she wanted to make people aware of the potential dangers.

The post has been shared more than 100,000 times and has attracted more than 11,000 comments.

“Myself and Gareth don’t want any other parents or family members to go through what we experienced that day,” she wrote.

“We will never get over what happened that day, but if this post can raise some awareness, save someone’s life, then we will be happy.”

A spokesperson for First Choice said it had taken “immediate action” to resolve the issue and had been in contact with Mrs Morgan to “update and reassure them on the steps we have taken”.

They said: “We continue to ensure that the health and safety of all of our holidaymakers is our top priority.”