UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Few things add excitement to a property like a swimming pool. A pool not only provides a way to stay cool on those hot summer days, it is the perfect attraction to build social events around.
However, there are risks and responsibilities that owners of both public and private swimming pools should know. Many accidents happen at swimming pools, resulting in serious injury or death.
Many swimming pool owners are unaware that most accidental drowning cases don’t occur during pool-centred social events. To the contrary; most drownings occur when the swimming pool is not being used. Children are primarily the victims of such accidents. Children are attracted to pools, and it only takes a few short minutes for them to drown. In most cases children can’t even scream for help. They die silently, having wandering into the pool area without their caretakers even realising it.
Globally, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury or death, accounting for 7% of all injuries. Over 90% of the estimated 322,000 annual global drowning deaths happen in low and middle-income countries.
With children being the most common drowning victims, it is important that pool owners fence off the pool area with self-closing gates with latches high enough to be out of a child’s reach. An installed swimming pool alarm can notify an owner if there is a water disturbance in the pool. Having rescue equipment in good repair and kept around the pool is another important safety measure against pool accidents.
Although the above measures appear to be expensive, it is the swimming pool owner’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for both children and adults who use the pool. According to the Uganda Law Society, if a private homeowner does not take adequate precautions to prevent unwanted individuals from gaining access to the facility, they are likely to be held liable if an accident occurs.
Some public swimming pool owners commonly post warning signs such as “Swim at your own risk” to protect themselves from legal action if someone is injured or drowns in their pools. However, adding warning signs does not absolve an occupier of liability; a mere sign alone is typically not enough to fulfil the occupier’s duty of care to ensure users are reasonably safe.
Regardless of posted warning signs, it is likely that a claim against the pool owners will still occur.
According to Ugandan tort law, an occupier must take all reasonable care in all circumstances to ensure that people having access to the property are safe using the premises for purposes for which the occupier invites or permits them.
Where an injury or accident occurs to any person, which may cause death, it is not only the property owner that may face penalties. Other occupants such as caretakers, servants, or other workers where the swimming pool is situated may also be arrested and charged with either criminal negligence or civil negligence.
As a property owner, install preventive measures in the swimming pool area. Your family and guests will be much safer, and much more likely to enjoy your pool experience.
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