Director's Blog

New rules in force for possession of sulphuric acid

Possessing potentially lethal acid without a licence is now a criminal offence, with offenders facing a two-year prison sentence.

Since 1 July, members of the public wishing to import, acquire or, use sulphuric acid above 15% concentration have been required to have a Home Office licence. Applicants need a legitimate purpose for a licence and must disclose any relevant health issues and previous criminal offences.

From 1st Nov 2018 individuals who are in possession of sulphuric acid, above a concentration of 15% and without a licence, should dispose of the substance according to the manufacturer's instructions or face prosecution.

The crime minister, Victoria Atkins, said: "Acid attacks are utterly appalling crimes ... We are taking this threat seriously and are making it harder to possess and purchase corrosive substances."  Professional users do not need a licence providing they are using the sulphuric acid for their trade.

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Pools that make a difference.

Pool people from organisations, local authorities, clubs, schools, hospitals have been asking us if they can become members. At first, we weren’t sure how to respond as we didn't know what people wanted us to do. You can already become an individual member of PWTAG if you meet the entry criteria. After talking to some of the people who had approached us, we got an idea of what they needed. In response, we have developed the pool operator membership category.

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Pool outlets – The sequel

After my last monumental blog on the development of a European Standard for swimming pool outlets I realised I just couldn't leave you hanging in the air with no definite outcome. As I write this, I have just left the follow up meeting at the AFNOR headquarters in Paris. Its next to the Stade de France, where England have been entertained on many occasions by the French. So to it was with this meeting, the French, and one Dutch man entertained my Anglo-Saxon views. The result was an outcome. It will not please everyone, makes little sense and of course will have to be ratified by the full committee of WG8. This was just a task group of WG8 established to deal with details that has proven to difficult for the main group to resolve.

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Swimming Pool Outlets – what could be simpler?

A group of us from four European countries assembled in Paris to consider revising the British and European Standard for swimming pool outlets. To put this into context, we were faced with a compilation of French and German proposed amendments to the existing BS EN 13451-3 Swimming Pool Equipment standard on pool inlets and outlets. Also incorporated, were proposals from the Netherlands Blue Cap group (safety of pool outlets consumer group). There are 23 pages of comments!!!! The UK have submitted no proposed amendments to the standard on the basis that with twenty years of experience and no reported accidents, we are more or less happy with it. There are certain elements that we would wish to see changed, like the removal of gravity flow outlet circulation but these have all been picked up for change by other countries in proposed amendments.

Following an earlier meeting in June when we achieved “not a lot”, we all knew that this meeting had to tackle the issue of dealing with the French, German and Netherlands amendments to the revision to the 13451 3 Standard. This was crunch time, make or break, which made it all the more remarkable that a room full of experts spent virtually two days talking about one issue! It is the paragraph 4.6.1 in the standard concerning pool outlets and, more particularly, pools where there is only one outlet.

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Confessionals and Closures

The PWTAG guidance on vomit all pool managers should be familiar with. It is not unusual for swimmers to vomit slightly. It often results from swallowing too much water, or over-exertion, and so is very unlikely to present a threat through infection. But if the contents of the stomach are vomited into a pool, the bather may be suffering from a gastrointestinal infection. And if that is cryptosporidiosis, infective, chlorine resistant Cryptosporidium oocysts are likely to be present. This is a rather theoretical, unevaluated risk, and there is some disagreement about how it should be dealt with.

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The Impact of Regulation

In the aftermath of the horror of the Grenfell fire public concern is turned now to how and why it happened. Many advocates of freedom from regulation whether it emanates from health and safety or from Brussels are now contemplating just what the impact of regulation or the lack of it has had on their lives. Regulations, are they a good thing or a bad thing? Do they make us safer or are they unnecessary in a world where we can count on the providers of goods and services to do the right thing and put safety first?

Are we in our “bubble” of swimming pools in a different situation than a towering, murderous inferno?

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