Ringler Radio

Swimming Pool Lawsuits

 

There have been many lawsuits against some swimming pool companies, where individuals, more commonly children, have been trapped underwater due to faulty drains resulting in injury or even death. This is called suction entrapment and can be prevented by installing a device to shut off the pump when an object gets in the way. On this edition of Ringler Radio, host Larry Cohen along with co-host, Joan Pagnano and guest, Attorney Michael Andrews from the Beasley Allen law firm, take a look at swimming pool and spa safety, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act and what swimming pool companies are doing to prevent these tragedies.

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  • http://poolguynj.com Scott Bair

    As a pool professional, here are my understandings of this important issue:

    Compliance with the VGB Act is not voluntary as you suggested in the broadcast. All commercial pools must be in compliance. Any extensions that were authorized are now expired. Failure to be in compliance closes the pool until it is in compliance. Some authorities have additional requirements that exceed the minimums set by the VGB Act.

    All residential pools built after 2008′s deadline must also, at a minimum, be in compliance prior to it’s final inspection.

    Residential pools completed prior to. the VGB Act’s effective date are not required to be retrofitted to meet VGB compliance. That being said, should the pool be drained for any purpose, such as replacing the liner, replastering, etc…, shall have an appropriately sized and approved drain cover installed. It is recommended that the homeowner take the extra step.

    I do encourage those selling the type of work that requires draining to notify the homeowner in writing. Many won’t for fear of losing the sale as this work can get expensive, several thousands of dollars in some cases. A homeowner could perceive this as an attempt to suck more money from them. Then the grieving parent comes after the last professional to work on it. Having it in writing can go a long way to covering the pool professional’s liabilities.

    There is a recent addendum to the VGB Act that requires, for commercial pools, that in addition to the drain cover and dual drain port requirement of them being three feet apart, an appropriately sized sump must be behind/under the cover. This sump’s purpose is to reduce the velocity of the water entering the drain cover by preventing a strong suction spot surrounded by an area of weaker suction. This stronger spot of suction, with in it’s area, would otherwise exceed the capacity of the cover to do it’s anti-entanglement function. Basically, without the sump, long hair or a necklace could potentially hold a person in place under water. It should also be noted that I have not yet heard of a compliance deadline being set yet.

    Overall, this broadcast was a worthwhile listen! Thank you.

    Scott