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Guidance: Chemical Management in Swimming Pools

Sep 22, 2023


The transport, storage, use, and disposal of hazardous chemicals in the swimming pool environment can expose pool employees to a risk to their health and safety. This article looks at the available guidance around chemical management in swimming pools, the key hazards and common control measures. 



  • HSE. 2018. Health and safety in swimming pools. HSG179, 4th edition - Paragraphs 240-254, 263-269. 
  • EN 15288-2:2018 Swimming pools for public use. Part 2 Safety requirements for operation - Clause 7.7.9-7.7.12. 
  • EN 15288-1:2018. Swimming pools for public use. Part 1 Safety requirements for design - Clause 5.13-5.14.3. 
  • PWTAG. 2019. Dealing with sodium hypochlorite spillage. TN5
  • PWTAG. 2019. Bunds for chemicals. TN35.
  • HSE. 1999. Safe handling of chlorine from drums and cylinders. HSG40.



The following hazards may be present in the transport, storage, use or disposal of chemicals:

  • High volumes of flammable or explosive chemicals increase the risk and severity of a fire. 
  • Poor hygiene or spillage may result in damage to the skin or eyes. 
  • Heavy and awkward chemical loads increase the risk of incurring an MSI. 
  • Noxious gas is produced if chlorine and acid products come into contact. 
  • Chemical burns will result from contact with corrosive chemicals. 
  • Water will be contaminated if harmful, corrosive, or toxic substances enter drinking or bathing water sources in sufficient concentrations. 
  • Eating and drinking around hazardous chemicals.


Control measures

 The following control measures may be useful in the safe transport, storage, use or disposal of chemicals: 

  1. Use of a specialist supplier to dispose of waste hazardous chemicals. 
  2. Minimize the quantity of hazardous chemicals on site
  3. Automate the chemical dosing of the swimming pool. 
  4. Substitute the use of hazardous chemicals with non-hazardous alternatives. 
  5. Outsource cleaning with hazardous chemicals to a third-party supplier. 
  6. Use, store and dispose of chemicals in line with guidance from the manufacturer. 
  7. Procure, or provide competent staff, to manage pool water hygiene. 
  8. Record and analyse incidents relating to chemical management.
  9. Separate chemical storage areas from chemical dosing and processing equipment.   
  10. Prohibit smoking, eating and drinking in chemical storage and processing areas. 
  11. Maintain good housekeeping in chemical storage and processing areas. 
  12. Procure and provide well-fitting, individual PPE (and where applicable RPE) for the handling of chemicals.
  13. Provide suitable equipment and adequate training to ensure staff are competent at transporting, storing, using or disposing of chemicals. 
  14. Provide and maintain adequate chemical labelling and hazard signage in chemical storage and processing areas. 
  15. Prohibit the storage of chemicals in unmarked containers. 
  16. Protect chemical storage from adverse weather. 
  17. Provide and maintain adequate hygiene facilities in chemical processing areas. 


Citation. Jacklin, D. 2023. Guidance: Chemical Management in Swimming Pools. Water Incident Research Hub, 22 September.