Pool Safety Advisory Follows $186,000 UK Fine in Two Drownings

The 2002 drowning deaths of two teen-age boys resulted in about $186,000 in fines July 13 against a police agency and a city, with the Health and Safety Executive using the opportunity to alert organizers of summer youth activities and swimming pool operators to review their procedures for swimming events. The fines were issued against the London Borough of Barnet and the Office of the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, which bore the lion's share of the fines.

Both agencies pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act after William Kadama, 15, and Gameli Akuklu, 14, drowned in a swimming pool at the Metropolitan Police Training College in Hendon, North London, in July 2002. The boys were participating in a swimming activity at the college; HSE said its investigation uncovered serious deficiencies in the operation of the pool by the Metropolitan Police Service and poor control of the overall activity by the London Borough of Barnet. A similar charge against the Metropolitan Police Authority was dropped because it does not have day-to-day control of the pool, HSE said.

"Health and safety isn’t about stopping fun activities, such as those organized for young people. However this case illustrates the tragic results when the safety of swimmers is not properly considered," said Ron Wright, HSE Principal Inspector. "Pool operators need to make sure that there are enough lifeguards for the size of the pool and the activities taking place. Play scheme organizers need to establish the swimming ability of the children involved and the suitability of the activity and pool."

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