As pools across the state begin to open for the summer season, the N.C. Department of Labor is urging residents to make themselves more aware of potential life-threatening electrical hazards around pool areas. To help increase public awareness of this issue, the department issued a pool safety hazard alert to the public, which can be viewed here.
On Labor Day weekend in 2016, a fatality occurred at a swimming pool in Raleigh, when the water became electrified due to a faulty water-pump connected to a deteriorated electrical system. The electrical system had not been tested or inspected for about three decades. This incident prompted a review of the safety requirements and recommendations swimming pool operators should use when dealing with electricity around pools.
“We want to ensure that people feel completely safe when they visit their swimming pools,” said Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. “Pools are meant to be a safe and fun experience for families, but swimmers should be aware of all of the potential risks, including hazards involving electricity.”
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division will periodically develop alerts following an event, in an effort to prevent additional incidents from occurring. Some counties in the state have since recommended that pool operators within their jurisdictions conduct electrical inspections at swimming pool facilities to ensure no hazards are present. N.C. health law requires inspections at swimming pools, but these inspections do not currently include electrical equipment. A new state law, however, is currently being considered by the General Assembly to address this issue.
“There are many community pools that were initially built in the 1970’s and 1980’s that are still in use across the state. Building codes do not currently require that electrical equipment installed in prior years meet current code unless a system is replaced,” said Kevin Beauregard, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Division. “As we enter Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the beginning of the pool season in many areas, we hope that this information may be helpful in preventing a similar tragedy in our state.”