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Airlie Beach lagoon drowning prompts Worksafe Queensland advice

Airlie Beach lagoon drowning prompts Worksafe Queensland advice
January 2, 2019

The drowning of a father and son at a lagoon attraction in Airlie Beach in October has prompted Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) to issue an advisory note to aquatic industry operators and workers.

Although the incident is still under investigation, it appears that both father and son - holidaying here from overseas - got into difficulty in the lagoon’s deeper water area.

WHSQ said that focus should be on preventing a similar incident, as these environments present many characteristics than can contribute to increased risk.

Public swimming pools and beach lagoons present a number of health and safety hazards, including those which increase the risk of drowning, such as:

• Large bodies of water with a large number of people using them at the same time
• The presence of children and adults with varying levels of swimming experience
• Pool depths that change suddenly without signage
• The presence of personal buoyancy devices (floaties, tubes) or large water-borne inflatable devices permanently or semi-permanently located in pools for common use (slides, bouncing castles, line ropes) which may impair the vision of adults or those supervising pool activities
• The design or construction of the pool obstructing the line of sight of supervisors.

A pool or beach lagoon operator must manage health and safety risks by:

• Providing adequately trained lifesavers, supervisors and first aid officers
• Ensuring young people or people with limited swimming competency, such as children, are accompanied by adults who provide supervision
• Prohibiting and monitoring activities such as diving and running
• Providing information or signage about pool safety (eg, accompanying adults to supervise their children, prohibited activities, pool depth)
• Removing or prohibiting the use of permanent or semi-permanent flotation devices when there is no supervision of their use.

Click here to view the WHSQ advisory notice on managing risks for operators.

Airlie Beach lagoon image courtesy of Tourism Whitsundays.

Related Articles

31st December 2018 - Federal Minister says number of holiday drownings is unacceptably high 

7th December 2018 - Australian Water Safety council addresses drowning among multicultural communities

29th October 2018 - Father and son drown at Airlie Beach lagoon

26th October 2018 - Keep Watch research shows alarming scale of toddler drowning

13th June 2018 - Worksafe Queensland consults on rope course strangulation fears

19th April 2018 - Royal Life Saving study finds lack of supervision behind child drownings at public facilities

11th March 2018 - Councils and developers look to embrace lagoon lifestyles

7th December 2016 - Inflatable waterparks the ‘big thing’ of the summer

18th August 2016 - Coroner finds 2014 Watermarc drowning death was preventable

3rd July 2015 - Airlie Aqua Park opens despite legal threats

30th June 2010 - Extensive recommendations from Rock Pool Water Park drowning inquest


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