Survey: Pool Owners, Operators May Need Better Training, Understanding of Pool Equipment

January 19, 2010

In addition, many are not routinely informed about latest health codes and regulations set forth by state governments

Results from a recent survey of pool owners and operators conducted by the Accu-Tab system group of PPG Industries found that staff and personnel responsible for maintaining and operating pools may be lacking adequate training on water quality equipment. In addition, many owners and operators are not routinely informed about the latest health codes and regulations set forth by their state government.

Specific findings include:
• 20% of pool owners and operators questioned reported that they had to shut down their facility due to a concern over water quality. Where lack of consistent training may be a factor, 76% of these owners and operators cited the equipment that regulates water quality as difficult to operate; and
• Of the remaining 80% of pool owners whose facilities were not shut down, only 51% said that same equipment was difficult to operate.

If the equipment that regulates water quality is operated inconsistently, operators may be unknowingly putting their patrons at risk for recreational water illnesses (RWIs), AccuTab said.

Additionally, 72% of aquatic facilities believe new regulations may be enacted to detect the presence of cryptosporidium and other RWI factors. Facing more regulations like these and not being completely up-to-date on existing codes and regulations can spell difficulty for pool owners who depend heavily on staff to maintain a safe and healthy environment for patrons.

Limited communication among staff members at a large facility, high employee turnover rates--especially at seasonal facilities--and multiple responsibilities assigned to the same person (i.e., building maintenance, landscaping and pool care) at small facilities might explain the limited awareness of the latest codes and regulations for pool and water safety.

In order to better ensure that pools run efficiently and safely, owners need to make maintenance and training a year-round, ongoing process. By segmenting the pool season into three parts--pre-season, in-season and post-season--owners can better manage the process of maintenance and training.

Owners and operators agreed that training is crucial to maintain facility viability, but 77% of surveyed owners and operators believed that training budgets will decrease or remain the same during the next two years. In addition, maintenance costs continue to rise as new laws (e.g, Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act) force pools to make updates to comply, Accu-Tab said.

Many owners believe that training needs to occur on-site. Eighty-three percent of surveyed owners and operators believe that on-the-job training best prepares pool operators and those who work with them. In fact, on-the-job training, ranked higher than Certified Pool Operator (CPO) certification, state-level training or a technical school degree.

In order to better ensure that pools run efficiently and safely, Accu-Tab said owners need to make maintenance and training a year-round/on-going process. By segmenting the pool season into three parts--pre-season, in-season and post-season--owners can better manage the process of maintenance and training.

Source:

PPG Accu-Tab

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