Published 21 February 2018

Today, at the CIMPSA conference, Frances Kelly, HM Inspector of Health & Safety at the Health and Safety Executive launched the latest revision of Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools (HSG 179).

This publication provides guidance for those who have any involvement with the operation and management of health and safety in swimming pools.

The guidance document offers best practice guidance for managing swimming pools safely. First published as Safety in Swimming Pools in 1988, it is no exaggeration to say that this clear, concise and sensible guidance has become the ‘gold standard’ and Health and Safety ‘bible’ for pool operators over the past 30 years.

Speaking after the launch, Martin Symcox, Director of IQL UK and Water Safety Management, commented: “This document is considered core industry guidance and has certainly helped to professionalise swimming pool safety and to reduce the incidents of drowning, within our swimming pools.”

The guidance has been created following extensive industry consultation and is intended to continue to help minimise risks to both employees and swimming pool users, without disproportionately limiting the positive benefits.

Like the previous versions, the document covers the importance of lifeguards and lifeguard supervision. It identifies the vital roles that they play in pool safety and includes information on the law, advice for managing pool user’s safety and risk management of pools.

This document is not a collection of legal requirements, it is simply intended to help pool operators meet the legal standard set out under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and related legislation.  Following the guidance laid out in HSG179 should ensure that operators are complying with the law but, it is not compulsory and other action can be taken to achieve compliance. However, if pool operators follow this guidance they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Martin Symcox said: “The Royal Life Saving Society UK and our partners, are committed to raising the standards of swimming pool safety and continually supporting improvements in lifeguarding. Therefore, we support updated guidance and improvements that can help to meet this cause. I am confident that operators will see compliance with this document, as a key safety management tool.”

Swimming pools come in a wide range of styles, from small community pools through to large leisure pools with flumes and inflatables. Such a wide range of differences requires clear guidance that meets the needs of all operators, from multi-site operators to standalone charitable trusts. The latest version of HSG179 provides invaluable information on managing pool safety, no matter what type of pool any sized operator is managing.

“Over the coming weeks, we have committed to providing a summary of the changes between the current and new versions of Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools, to aid understanding for our partners, our workforce and our dedicated lifeguards.” added Symcox.

Supplementary information to support the new publication can be found at