In a recent report “Swimming pool overhead lighting system” by Estate Facilities Alert the issue of safety around the pool has once again been flagged.
Following an incident at a public swimming pool the safety alert was issued to warn organisations with swimming pools about the risk of collapse from a certain type of lighting system, used at swimming pools.
The incident saw a pool hall overhead lighting system collapsing without warning which have caused serious injury to pool users. The findings from HSE and the Local Authority investigations indicate that the plastic bracket/roller system, found on a certain type of aluminium lighting system which operates on a runner, is liable to severe degradation over time and can break and collapse without warning.
The lighting system affected was installed over 30 years ago and it is not known how many similar systems exist around the UK.
The incident occurred in two leisure centre swimming pools in South Wales. Both leisure centres were built in 1987 and 1989 with square aluminium lighting units that were connected together in a series of three lights. These were then mounted onto runners supported from the ceiling structure.
The lights were mains powered and fitted with sodium lamps. The dimensions of the set of three lights together are 1800mm (length) x 600mm (width) x 400mm (depth). Details of the manufacturer have not been fully established.
Actions should be undertaken by owners or facilities managers to identify whether similar lighting systems were installed in their premises.
They should then inspect whether the lighting units are attached to a supporting structure by means of a plastic bracket or roller. It is advisable to carry out a thorough checkup of the condition of the plastic bracket / roller where age or condition gives cause for concern.
Finally, consideration should be given to replace of the brackets/rollers or fitting additional securing mechanisms where appropriate.
If you are looking to find out more or to read the relevant legal documents, please refer to:
- Sections 2 & 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Regulation 5 of provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations 1998
Both documents are advising that suspended ceilings should be avoided wherever possible, but if they are essential they should be designed in such a way that allows routine inspection of the ceiling void, internal roof structure and light fittings.
As much as regular and correct maintenance of buildings, plant and equipment is important, another issue to consider is to follow the designer’s (or manufacturer’s) instructions on preventive maintenance procedures and intervals. They should also indicate the competence and/or qualifications for those carrying out the work.
Please pass this information to colleagues who may have this equipment installed within their premises. If you need help or advice on your facility health and safety, please contact me direct.