Council Fined After Girl Is Trapped In Swimming Pool

HSE Raises Concerns Over Risk Management At Leisure Centre


A public liability specialist at Irwin Mitchell has called for lessons to be learnt over a case in which a seven-year-old girl became trapped underwater in a leisure centre swimming pool.

Castle Point Borough Council has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs over the incident in 2009, when the youngster’s hair was sucked into a water outlet in the pool at Waterside Farm Leisure Centre.

After being trapped underwater for two and a half minutes, her great-grandfather pulled some of her hair out in order to get her free.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the council which runs the centre failed to managed the risks related to it, particularly failing to ensure the outlet had two vents installed. It was also found that the number of lifeguards on duty was too low.

Katrina Elsey, an expert at Irwin Mitchell who helps those injured in public places, said: “Every effort has to be made to ensure that this incident not only does not happen again, but also is not repeated at any other leisure centres across the country.

“This terrible incident will have undoubtedly been deeply traumatic for those involved, but what is most concerning is that it could have been prevented if the risks had been better managed.

“It is unacceptable that the safety of those using facilities like leisure centres should be undermined at any point and I hope lessons are learnt from this which will ensure no one else faces the same mistakes in the future.”