An incident in which a child was found at the bottom of a local swimming pool could have been prevented, a court has heard.
The 11-year-old pupil from Ferryhill Primary School became submerged under water at Stonehaven Open Air Pool, in Aberdeenshire, during a school trip. He was recovered unconscious by a member of the public.
Thankfully, CPR was successfully administered by lifeguards and the boy has since made a full recovery.
Council at fault
Both Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in the incident in June 2012.
Aberdeen City Council was fined £9,000, while Aberdeenshire Council was fined £4,000.
The party of 23 pupils, a teacher and a teaching assistant arrived on the day of the excursion but no formal booking had been made. They were allowed to use the pool which water depth ranges from 0.8 metres to 2.2 metres.
While the pupils were using the pool, a member of the public also using the pool noticed a shadow under the water at the deep end. When he realised it was a child, he dragged him out and lifted him onto the poolside.
He was not breathing and had no palpable pulse but lifeguards managed to resuscitate him using CPR.
Swimming pool accidents
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found issues with staffing levels and lifeguard positioning at the pool. It also identified problems with the effective management of educational excursions at the school.
Swimming pools have the potential to be very dangerous areas, where accidents can occur easily. Slips, trips and falls can lead to cuts and fractures. They can even cause serious head injuries, which in some cases have resulted in paralysis or death by drowning if the victim falls into the pool.
Diving boards can also cause injury, if poorly maintained.
It is up to the pool operator and lifeguards to make sure users are kept safe at all times.
Date Published: August 15, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown