Version: 1
Last Updated March 2023
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Every pool operator is responsible for the health and safety of employees, pool users and other people on the premises.  

Swimming pool operators commonly put procedures in place to enable them to comply with their legal obligations. This is to ensure both staff and users of the pool are kept safe from injury or ill health. 

The PSOP is usually made up of two documents: 

  1. Normal Operating Procedure (NOP) 
    This sets out how the pool operates on a daily basis.  

    2. Emergency Action Plan (EAP) 
        This provides specific instructions on the action to be taken, by all staff, if there is an emergency. 

Whilst the contents of these policies and procedures vary, they should be specific to the swimming pool/ facility and will differ from site to site. The PSOP will be based on the pool operator’s risk assessments for which they are written.  

RLSS UK has provided an example PSOP content list. This details policies and procedures that may need to be included as part of the PSOP; however, it is not exhaustive. 

This list has been created for swimming pools that use lifeguards. Swimming pools without lifeguards will still require a PSOP; however, the content may differ slightly. 

Normal Operating Procedure (NOP) 

Organisation chart – identifying lines of authority 

Plan of the building (Plans and layout) 

Alarms systems (inc. location) 

Emergency equipment (inc. location) 

Details of the pool(s) (e.g. dimensions, depth, pool signage) 

Pool equipment and features 

Maximum bather load/ occupancy (per session, per pool, teacher-to-pupil ratio) 

Control of access/admission 

Dealing with the public 

Pool rules  

Potential Risk factors 

Lifeguard responsibilities, duties, and arrangements, Lifeguard positions, zones, rotations etc. 


Staff uniform 

Safe systems of work (detailed instructions of tasks completed by employees) 

Operational systems and work instructions (detailed instructions for the work you undertake) 

Dealing with contractors  

Training and competency requirements of all staff (inc. Lifeguards, participation) 

First Aid provisions and training (equipment, employed trained, qualifications, reporting)  

Use of video and photo equipment  

Condition of hire to outside organisations 


Emergency Action Plan (EAP) 


Disorderly behaviour (including violence to staff) 

Lack of water clarity (turbidity) or chemical reading outside of parameters  

Broken glass in the pool 

Emission of toxic gases/ chemical(s) 

Outbreak of fire (or building evacuation) 

Controlled or partial evacuation 

Bomb threat/ Terrorism threat /discovery of suspicious packages 

Lighting failure 

Electrical failure 

Structural failure 

Serious injury to a swimming pool user 

Weather conditions – weather that impacts safety (e.g. outdoor pools) 

Discovery of a casualty in the water (including drowning) 

Dealing with blood, vomit, urine and needles and sharps 

Faecal release in the swimming pool 

Lost, found, or left child 

First Aid 

Lift failure 

Robbery or theft 

Failure of technology 

Accident, incident, and follow-up action 

Further Reading and Supporting Documents 

Other documents/ links to support the development or review of a PSOP: 


The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) 

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 

HSE: Information about health and safety at work 

Health and safety in swimming pools (HSG179) 

Health and safety in swimming pools - HSG179 ( 

BSI BS EN 15288-2:2018 Swimming pools for public use. Safety requirements for operation 

BS EN 15288-2:2018 Swimming pools for public use. Safety requirements for operation, British Standards Institution - Publication Index | NBS ( 

Safe supervision of programmed swimming lessons and training (available from Swim England) 

The Home of Swimming | The UK swimming resource from Swim England 

Parental and operator guidance for child supervision policies in swimming pools (available from CIMSPA) 

CIMSPA - chartered professional body | CIMSPA 

PAS 520:2017 Safeguarding 0 to 4 years old children within the teaching of swimming, including any associated professional photography. Code of practice (available from BSI) 

British Standards Institution - Project ( 

BS EN 13451-1 Swimming pool equipment. General safety requirements and test methods for equipment installed in pools for public use (available from BSI) 

BS EN 13451-1 - Swimming pool equipment. General safety requirements and test methods for equipment installed in pools for public use ( 

BS EN 1069-1:2017 Water slides. Safety requirements and test methods (available from BSI) 

BSI Knowledge ( 

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