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Safety and Sanitation for Spas Swimming Pools Fitness Rooms

Updated on March 21, 2016

Swimming pool safety is handled by local authorities such as your county and city governments. Recently, the CDC has worked with the NASCO (National Aquatic Safety Company Organization) to develop a Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) that is expected to transform the standards of excellence to prevent disease and injuries and to actively promote health water experiences. This is expected to affect both the recreational world of water and the swim fitness world of water. With the advent of baby boomers in the United States learning about the advantages and varying intensity levels of swim fitness, the timing for this new standard could not be better for American citizens.

"All rules and regulations are handled by your local authorities. Rules and regulations will vary according to local codes. Please use the following as a guide only. Refer to your specific governing body."

Rules on Sanitation for the Swimming Pool

There are certain rules and pieces of equipment that a public and semi-public or club needs to be aware of to protect both the facility and the patrons of the swimming pool.

With the lack of funding, greater reliance upon the management of the facility and the concerned patrons is needed. The items presented here are simply for a starting point to determine how your swimming pool facility might improve.

Sanitation and safety are items that pay dividends on the back end. Yes, buying the needed equipment, maintaining the needed equipment, hiring qualified personnel is expensive. The most expensive item for a swimming pool or any fitness facility is sickness. Controlling the air quality, actively managing the sanitation of the swimming pool water are items that must always be priority one.

In this Hub, we have compiled 12 safety must for swimming pools and 5 safety musts for pools with lifeguards. We went on to showcase many of the pieces of equipment that support safety including shower heads, CPR masks, etc...

As the United States is facing the health crisis of obesity and high cost of care, the benefits of swim fitness will become more self evident. It is my hope that as the activity of the swimming pools increases, the safety structure is increased. Just one illness that is preventable is not acceptable. Our health is our most valuable asset. Managers and swimming pool patrons alike should know what to look for in a well managed swimming pool facility. This is simply a starting point for a discussion and periodic review. Journey with us and see firsthand over 10 different signs that can promote your swimmers to help in your safety measures with special emphasis upon showering before swimming.

Swimming Pool Shower for Safety

Showering Pool Side is A Necessity for Pool Sanitation
Showering Pool Side is A Necessity for Pool Sanitation | Source

Safe Swimming Poster

make a splash with safe swimming colorful poster
make a splash with safe swimming colorful poster | Source

Cleanliness Counts - Super Sustainable Practice

  • Encourage showering - give written reminders twice - once in the locker room and again before entering the swimming pool.
  • Encourage cleansing showers.
  • Encourage nude showers, shower before the swim suit is put on.

Purpose: 80% of the chemicals used can be reduced with active management from the swimming and/or spa participants.

Less chemicals means big savings on the maintenance costs but more importantly less chemicals hitting your guests skin, hair and swim suits.

Swimming Pool Safety Poster

Swimming Pool Safety Poster
Swimming Pool Safety Poster | Source

Safety Equipment Mandatory for Swimming Pools

"Each pool, excluding whirlpools and
wading pools, shall be provided with a shepherd’s crook type pole.
In addition, for each lifeguard chair, or when a pool is 30 feet or
more in width and does not have lifeguard chairs, there shall be
provided at least one of the following: a ring buoy having a minimum
outside diameter of 20 inches, a rescue buoy, a rescue tube
or a torpedo buoy. Each ring buoy shall be attached to a 1/4 inch
rope having a length not less than 11/2 times the maximum width
of the pool or 50 feet, whichever is less."

source: Environmental Health Guy

Shower Guidelines

  • Shower with Soap
  • Shower Before Swim Suit, Ala Shower Nude
  • Shower Before Swimming
  • Shower After Toilet
  • Shower After Hot Tub and Before Swimming

Remember the goal is to minimize the amount of chemicals used in the swimming pool.

Remind Guests Twice - Two Visual Reminders - Display Posters:

  1. In Locker Room - Preferably in the Bathroom
  2. In Spa or Pool Area

Pool Water Temperature

"POOL WATER TEMPERATURE. (a) Pools except whirlpools. The water temperature of indoor pools, except whirlpools, shall be between 72ºF. (25ºC.) and 90ºF. (32ºC.). The air temperature at an indoor pool shall be at least 72ºF. The minimum water temperature for outdoor pools shall be 65ºF. (18ºC.). An accurate thermometer shall be located in the pool water return line and shall be accessible for observation by the pool operator. (b) Whirlpools. The water temperature of whirlpools may not exceed 104ºF. (40ºC.)." [3]

Must for Safety - Safe Swimming Pool Operators Do....

7 MUSTS To Plan for Emergencies:

1. Have a telephone 200 feet away from the spa or pool with clear signage

2. Have depth of water clearly posted

3. Have safety equipment clearly visible

4. Have a first aid kit in full view

5. Have quick access to a rescue board

6. Have a shepherd’s crook type pole

7. Have a life ring

5 MUSTS to Keep the Swimming Pool or Spa Clean and Sanitized:

1. Have signage both at the swimming pool AND in the locker room reminding about showering before entering the public waters. This signs will save you substantial dollars in chemicals - best investment for a spa and/or swimming pool.

2. Have designed their facilities so patrons must walk through the shower before entering the pool or spa area.

3. Have a bathroom within a short walking distance of the pool or spa.

4. Test the water for both disinfectant levels and ph levels twice daily.

5. Levels for ph in s swimming pool should range from 7.2 to 7.8. "The most desirable level for pools and spas is between 7.4 and 7.6." [1]

5 MUSTS for Safety with Lifeguards On Duty:

1. Lifeguards are qualified and certified.

2. Lifeguards are easily identified.

3. Lifeguards are provided, a rescue tube with harness is provided to each lifeguard on duty, spine board and two (2) durable blankets in each pool area.

4. No distracting duties shall be assigned to the Lifeguard - they have one purpose only - safety of the swimmers in the pool.

5. All patrons shall respect the Lifeguard or be subject to removal from the swimming pool facility.

NASCO is the company that set the rules for safety. NASCO stands for National Aquatic Safety Company. NASCO has worked closely with the CDC to develop the The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

Model Aquatic Health Code

The MAHC is coordinated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and began through an initial grant funded by the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF). This code once completed could be a source for regulatory agencies at the state and local government level to adopt into standards. The areas covered in the code range from water disinfection, filtration, construction, air quality, operation, ect. Each topic area has a Technical Committee made up of a diverse group of industry professionals with experience in their area of expertise. In fact, Dr. John Hunsucker (President of NASCO) is a member of the Technical Committee for the Lifeguarding & Bather Supervision Committee. Some elements of the proposed code have even gone up for a public comment period, be sure to check it frequently.

Aquatic Facility Inspection

A facility inspection uses the NASCO four point standards: Safety, Perception of Safety, Legal Liability and Guest Satisfaction , all points of concern for an aquatic facility.

It is an inspection that covers two days and identifies exceptions to the standards of care within the aquatics industry.

A facility inspection is recommended every 2 to 3 years.

Signs Promote and Guide Guests and Patrons

Signs could also be placed behind toilet doors requesting customers to wash hands thoroughly and to shower after using the toilet.

Shower Guidelines

Showers shall be supplied with water at a temperature of at least 90° F and not more than 115° F with temperature controls that prevent scalding.

Every owner and every operator shall ensure that notices are displayed at the entrance to each shower area and at every entrance to the deck used by bathers.

Water Temperature Guidelines for Pools Spas and Showers

  • Whirlpools. The water temperature of whirlpools may not exceed 104ºF. (40ºC.).
  • Swimming pools.....
  • pH Control. The pH of pool water shall be maintained within a range of 7.2 through 7.8
  • Air temperature
  • Shower temperature

Safety signs should include - "do not use this pool if you have had diarrhoea in the past week."

The Need for Swimming Sanitation Test Strips

The Need for Swimming Sanitation in colorful poster form showcasing the germs
The Need for Swimming Sanitation in colorful poster form showcasing the germs | Source

pH Guidelines for Akalanity in the Swimming Pool

Maintain the swimming pool within a range of 7.2 and 7.8 pH alkaline levels.

"The pH levels for swimming pools are measured on a scale that ranges from 0 to 14. Where a reading of 0 indicates an extremely strong acid base (acidic water) and a reading of 14 means a very strong base (basic water). 7 which is at the middle of the scale, means that the water is very neutral. This in fact is the neutral point for water. The most desirable pH level for a swimming pool or spa is between 7.2 and 7.6."

Swimming Sanitation Test Strips - Pools and Hot Tubs

Swimmers I feel should bring their own test strips to check the water for proper chlorination and pH levels.

Sanitation test strips can be purchased at most home improvement and pool supply stores or online for about $10.00 for 50 strips.

Follow manufacturers’ instructions.

Free chlorine levels should be 1–3 ppm, or bromine level should be 2–5 ppm.

The pH level should be 7.2–7.8. At a pH above 7.8, chlorine will not effectively kill germs. At a pH below 7.2, chlorine will actually be more effective, but swimmers might experience skin or eye irritation.

I keep a laminated poster in my kit of chemicals next to my hot tub as a reminder.

Have you seen a beautiful outdoor swimming pool without an outdoor shower?

See results

Showering Pays Dividends

Chlorine (the disinfectant used in the pool) becomes less effective with more bacteria.

The more bacteria, the more the chlorine "demand" will be and thus the more chlorine needed.

More chlorine means more expense.

Showering will pay dividends in both sanitation and in lessened chemical costs.

Please Shower Before Swimming

Showering before swimming can help the amount of chemicals added to the water. Public and private swimming pools can see a significant decrease in their chemicals IF the right sun tan lotion is used and IF showering before swimming is made part of the routine.

I am amazed at the number of resort swimming pools who have invested thousands in their décor and yet no shower is near by. An outdoor shower is relatively inexpensive and can pay dividends in the decrease in chemicals use.

Regulations to me are not the answer. The answer is education and training management and swimmers alike to understand the connection to good hygiene for the swimming pool.

We have made major steps in washing our hands and washing your hands for employee training have signs in every restaurant I visit. Yet swimming pools typically are missing these signs. Worst yet, is to post "the sign" with no reinforcement or kind reminder by management, swim fitness instructors and parents.

Beautiful resort swimming pools must have an outdoor shower. It is not optional for their swimmers comfort and health.

We have learned about bacteria and how it is unseen. The sight of an outdoor shower should be a fundamental item for our beautiful outdoor swimming pools.

Zero-Depth Swimming Pool Entry

Zero-Depth swimming pool entry
Zero-Depth swimming pool entry | Source

Non Slip Tape on Swimming Pool Stairs

Non slip tape for swimming pool stairs provides both a physical and visual benefit. The physical properties of the non slip tape help prevent injuries by providing traction on stairways and other surfaces of the pool where the elevation changes. Non slip tape also provides a visual warning which is equally critical in preventing injuries.

The best entrance to a swimming pool is the zero-depth. The zero-depth is convenient for young and old and alike and is the most natural, however, the zero-depth takes up valuable and very expensive room for a swimming pool. The zero-depth entrance is an entry point at the pool’s shallow end that is nearly even with the deck - as your bare foot enters, similar to a natural beach, the water gradually gets deeper with each step.

The majority of swimming pools do not have this luxury and have stairs which need the color coding and the texture for the safety of the swimming pool step.

The best case scenario where money is available is multiple points of entry with multiple types of entrance.

Shower Head Safety

Keeping your swimming pool safe is a product of proper sanitation. Not having sufficient pressure with your showers can create an undue burden upon the chemicals you must use in your swimming pool. Chemicals are expensive but sickness if even more costly for your family and/or the patrons of your swimming pool facility.

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandates that "all faucet fixtures manufactured in the United States restrict maximum water flow at or below 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure or 2.2 gpm at 60 psi."[2]

Warning: The following section is for information purposes only; I am not advocating egregious violations of federal law as some trouble-making rebel might. Do not endanger your status as a law-abiding citizen who takes wimpy showers.

Many people now hack their showers — or customize them, if you prefer. You can take your shower head down, pull the washer out with a screwdriver, and remove the offending intrusion that is restricting water flow. It can be a tiny second washer or it can be a hard plastic piece. Just pop it out and replace the washer. Sometimes it is necessary to trim it out using a penknife.

Showers must be maintained in an operable condition.

Many have stated that each shower shall provide 3 to 5 gallons of water per minute for the best sanitation results. The water pressure in your shower head may cost your more in water but save you 10 times in the amount of chemicals you use in your swimming pool.

Swimming Pool Safety and Sanitation

Swimming pool safety and sanitation demands a team effort. Understanding the importance of sanitation upon our health and safety is only the first step. Safety saves lives and prevents illness. Take the time today to take the safety to the next level for your swimming pool today!

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    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      4 years ago from United States

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thank you so much - I started on HubPages to achieve success in fitness. Fitness was my second career and this means allot. I have put allot of work into this and to hear someone recognize that means allot to me.Writing about fitness with special emphasis upon swim fitness is a passion of mine. I have several other niches but the one that counts the most to me is here! Can I measure up? This means the world to me. Thank you very much!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Fantastic writing, Easy Exercise.

      Voted up and away on this well-written, researched, in-depth hub. You have really went beyond what a writer should do--great and wonderful job.

      Check your fan mail.

      And I cordially-invite you to check one or two of my hubs and then be one of my followers--that would make my day.


      Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      Thank you so much for your high marks. You are a great writer. Your enthusiasm shows through and yet you are very thorough.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Fantastic hub, great info and links to some great sources. Voted up, awesome CF

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      Sadly you are probably the norm. Without federal standards it is difficult to understand what is needed and mandatory. Additionally, I feel swimming pools are built too large. Building smaller pools would not be as aesthetically pleasing and would be more expensive but might encourage more people. The ocean is different, we know we cannot mimic the ocean. Doing a great job on a smaller scale, keeping children away from adults, lap swimmers away from aerobics along with swim fitness activities, I feel is the key to the future.

      Oh, the water in Hawaii I would love to try. My hot tub is 104.

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      6 years ago from Colorado

      Great hub. There are many places I won't swim and the gym is one of them. Too many people, too many diapers, and too many risks. I know the ocean has other risks, but the water moves constantly. I prefer the water at Kailua-in Hawaii. At least its blue, then I don't think about it so much. Or the hot springs in Glenwood Springs. 104 degrees year round. Up and interesting and useful.


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