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National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee endorses new risk management guidelines for swim schools and aquatic facilities

National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee endorses new risk management guidelines for swim schools and aquatic facilities
May 14, 2020

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia (RLSSA) and the National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee (NAISC) have released new guidelines on the risk management of COVID-19 in aquatic facilities and swim schools, bringing together the latest information from Safe Work Australia, the Federal Department of Health and equivalent agencies in each state and territory.

The new guidelines now form part of the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations (GSPO) and provide specific advice to owners and operators of aquatic facilities on how to manage the risk of COVID-19 as they look to reopen their businesses in the near future.

Introducing the new guidelines, Craig Roberts, the National Manager of Operations for RLSSA and Chair of the NAISC, advised "this nationally agreed guidance is to be welcomed in these uncertain times, and gives the aquatic industry sector a consolidated and consistent roadmap to managing the risks associated with COVID-19.

"This guidance will be reviewed again in one month’s time to give those working in the industry a chance to digest the materials and suggest any further changes. Given how quickly the situation relating to COVID-19 is developing, the Committee felt it was prudent to endorse the guidelines as soon as possible.”

The changes announced by the Government on 25th March 2020 to close all public aquatic facilities and swim schools in the light of the COVID-19 Pandemic has had a substantial impact on the aquatic industry. With over 1077 aquatic facilities and more than 1176 swim schools, Royal Life Saving estimates that over 67,000 frontline employees were impacted immediately.

The Australian aquatic industry involves a comprehensive legal framework that pertains to a range of activities in and around aquatic facilities. These include functions and responsibilities in health, training, education, sport, workplace health and safety, rescue, first aid and facility management.

The Australian Government has a longstanding agreement with Royal Life Saving to provide services on behalf of the Australian aquatic industry. Specifically, RLSSA established the NAISC to lead the research, review and development of the GSPO. The GSPO is intended to be a best practice guide for managers, lifeguards, instructors and others working in the industry on the safe operation of aquatic locations.

As part of this agreement, RLSSA maintains a comprehensive up-to-date register of relevant industry policies and standards for aquatic safety which includes:

National and State/Territory legislation and regulations
International and Australian Standards
Building Code of Australia
Safe Work Australia’s Codes of Practice
Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines
Australian Quality Training Framework

The NAISC consists of the following organisations, representing each State and Territory in Australia:

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia
Swimming Australia
Australian Council for Swimming and Water Safety Teachers (AUSTSWIM)
Australian Swim Coaches and Teaches Association (ASCTA)
Aquatic Recreation Victoria (ARV)
Brisbane City Council
Aquatic Recreation Institute (NSW)
Leisure Institute of Western Australia (LIWA)
Club Group
Belgravia Leisure
YMCA
Sea Lyons Aquatics

Royal Life Saving’s research, education and advocacy work in drowning prevention and water safety is supported by the Australian Government.

Click here to download the new guidelines on the risk management of COVID-19 in swim schools and aquatic facilities.

Related Articles

12th May 2020 - Industry alliance provides guidance on community aquatic, recreation and sport operations in eased Coronavirus environment

11th May 2020 - ARI release guidelines for managing Coronavirus risks in reopened aquatic centres

7th May 2020 - Latest AusPlay data shows further increase in adult participation in sport and physical activity

6th May 2020 - YMCA warns against long-term impacts of COVID-19 on youth

5th May 2020 - Deakin University launches survey to assess how Australians are coping without sport

1st May 2020 - Royal Life Saving makes the case for the reopening of Australia’s aquatic centres and swim schools

1st May 2020 - YMCA reopens pools in Darwin

30th April 2020 - ASSA raises concerns over future of swim schools

29th April 2020 - ASCTA advocacy highlights the value of swim coaching and teaching

24th April 2020 - Coach calls for elite swimmers to be given access to pools

24th April 2020 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces framework for return of sport

21st April 2020 - SwimDesk launches new swim schools podcast

20th April 2020 - Swimming Australia celebrates first year of iSwim

25th March 2020 - Belgravia Group launches online fitness program

9th August 2019 - Western Australian aquatic centres report identifies industry labour shortages


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