Residential Swimming Pool Safety & Homeowner Liability
As we approach the end of another school year, the lazy, hazy days of summer are right around the corner. The warmer weather means enjoying weekend barbeques, outdoor fun with friends and family, and relaxing by the backyard swimming pool.
Did you know that as a property owner or occupier, you can be held legally responsible for any injuries or deaths that take place in or around your residential swimming pool?
Swimming Pool Safety
The Occupiers Liability Act requires property owners and occupiers to take reasonable steps to ensure that the activities engaged in on their premises are safe. In other words, create, communicate, and post the swimming pool rules so guests know how to safely enjoy your swimming pool.
The creation, communication, and posting of swimming pool rules are essential to keeping guests safe while visiting the premises — and verbally communicating the swimming pool rules to your guests serves to further protect the property owner and occupier from liability.
As the property owner or occupier, it is your duty to monitor the activities of your guests to ensure they are following the established swimming pool rules and to warn guests of shallow swimming pool depths which are not conducive to diving. Signs advising of ‘Shallow Water’ and ‘No Diving’ should be posted to keep guests safe.
While a standard homeowner’s insurance policy may provide sufficient coverage for damage to your home and residential swimming pool, even the most comprehensive insurance policy will not provide adequate protection in the event someone is seriously injured or drowns in your swimming pool.
It is advisable for property owners, and occupiers with residential swimming pools, to speak with their insurance brokers to ensure they have adequate insurance limits to protect themselves in the event the worst case scenario occurs.
Swimming Pool Liability
The provisions of the Occupiers’ Liability Act require that property owners and occupiers keep their premises safe and free of dangers for guests visiting the premises. This means that swimming pool decks and patios should be kept free of pool floaties and other tripping hazards at all times.
Diving boards, slides, and jumping rocks should be properly installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and with strict adherence to the manufacturer’s swimming pool depth recommendations.
Finally, if night swimming is in the plans, ensure the swimming pool, swimming pool deck, and patio are adequately illuminated to promote the safe passage of guests to and from the swimming pool.