Version: 1
Last Updated:
March 2023

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Employers must organise ongoing training to equip employees with the required knowledge and skills to perform their roles.  

What is the requirement for ongoing training? 

Employers are responsible for arranging ongoing training for lifeguards, determining its frequency, content and who should deliver the training. Detailed below is the guidance the Health and Safety Executive published and current legislation. 

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state: 

  • 128 The main duties of the lifeguard are to:  
    • anticipate problems and intervene early to prevent accidents, 
    • intervene to prevent unsafe behaviour,
    • keep a close watch over the pool to identify pool users in difficulty and take appropriate action 
    • communicate effectively with pool users and colleagues, 
    • carry out a rescue, 
    • give immediate first aid to any casualty, 
    • perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), 
    • follow procedures and respond in the event of an emergency evacuation, and 
    • raise the alarm if further assistance is required.  

  •  129 To perform the duties set out above, lifeguards should participate in a programme of regular ongoing training. 

  • 137 Lifeguards must be competent to carry out their assigned duties. 

  • 145 All lifeguards will benefit from suitable refresher training (see to ensure they retain these skills. The frequency of refresher training is not defined because it varies depending on how often lifeguards practise and/or use their skills and any changes to their work environment or current industry standards. 

It is worth pointing out that the employer/operator is responsible for providing training to their employees, as detailed in Section 13 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: 

  • Capabilities and training 
    Employers shall ensure that their employees receive adequate health and safety training, repeat training periodically where appropriate, and adapt training to take account of any new or changed risks to the health and safety of the employees concerned and take place during working hours. 

How should ongoing training be delivered? 

The employer must determine the delivery method of any training given. Training can be delivered face-to-face or by combining face-to-face and online/remote delivery.  
Employers need to have an opportunity to ensure lifeguards are competent across both knowledge and practical skills. RLSS UK would expect at least a proportion of training to be delivered face-to-face.  

How often should a lifeguard attend ongoing training?

Employers should determine the frequency of ongoing training and how to manage lifeguards should they not attend the training planned.  

Who should deliver ongoing training? 

A competent person should deliver ongoing training. RLSS UK strongly recommends that an NPLQ Trainer Assessor delivers the ongoing training for lifeguards.  

Is ongoing training required to renew the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)? 

Candidates must complete twenty hours of Continued Professional Development (CPD) within the last two years from the date of the previous assessment, prior to the renewal assessment of their qualification. CPD should include content from the NPLQ syllabus. Further details are in the specific Guidance and Syllabus. 

Continued Professional Development (CPD) can be achieved by:

  • Attending a lifeguard ongoing training and competency assessment* (strongly recommended)  
  • Attending alternative face-to-face or online training, relating to in-water swimming pool rescue skills, CPR, First Aid, and lifeguard theory. 

*The lifeguard ongoing training and competency assessment syllabus has been designed to cover most aspects of the NPLQ syllabus. 

The Health and Safety Executive 

HSE: Information about health and safety at work 

Health and safety in swimming pools (HSG179) 

Health and safety in swimming pools - HSG179 ( 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 ( 

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