Practice Caution With Pool Chemicals
Pool maintenance workers at risk of toxic fume poisoning
As facility managers open outdoor pools for the season this weekend at community centers, hotels, and apartment complexes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds them to exercise caution when handling pool chemicals, including chlorine. Pool chemical injuries have been responsible for more than 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year from 2008- 2017, according to a CDC report. Approximately two-thirds of these injuries occurred during the summer swim season from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
The CDC recommends the following tips when handling pool chemicals:
- Read and follow directions on pool chemical product labels.
- Wear personal protective equipment, such as respirators or googles, when handling pool chemicals. Check product labels for directions on what to wear.
- Never mix different pool chemicals with each other. It is particularly dangerous to mix chlorine and acid.
- If you operate a public pool, complete the operator training that includes pool chemical safety. Conduct pool chemical safety training for all staff that handle chemicals.
Handling chemicals is a regular part of many maintenance workers’ jobs. CMM recommends several chemical safely handling tips for employers such as making sure staff understand the safety data sheets, pictographs, and warnings for each product and setting up hands-on training.