An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found several breaches of health and safety, after five children and 14 adults needed treatment for breathing difficulties at East Sands Leisure Centre in Fife last August.
The probe came after an uncontrolled release of the chemical sodium hypochlorite from the pool’s storage tank prompted an emergency evacuation of the pool. Investigators found that design of the tank was not suitable and did not have sufficient strength for the loads applied to it.
Martin Rae, Safety and Facilities Manager at Fife Sports and Leisure Trust explains: “We had based our maintenance and inspection regime on current leading body advice and structured our service contract accordingly. However, when the incident occurred, the HSE advised that the PM86 guidance on thermoplastic integrity management and PM75 glass reinforced plastic vessels and tanks should also have been included when setting the regime.
“Some operators may already be aware of these documents. Those who are not should include their guidance in their tank maintenance and management procedure,” he adds.
Fife Council has confirmed that the storage tank at East Sands Leisure Centre has been removed and will not be replaced. The Centre will run on Sodium Hypochlorite, until later this year, while structural alterations are made to the plant room to facilitate the change to Calcium Hypochlorite.
During this transitional period the risk of spill is being minimised by having the Sodium Hypochlorite delivered and stored in 25 litre containers which are stored on a containment spill tray with an enforced controlled maximum stock level applied. This eliminates the risk of any further bulk spill.