Your Community Pool May Require Lifeguards By: Nicholas J. Meinert, Esq.

In Ohio, any pool serving more than three residential dwellings is considered a “public pool,” which means that nearly every condominium and homeowners association pool is classified as “public” despite its private ownership and access. This means that your community pool falls under the regulations outlined in the Ohio Health Code. Apart from chemical monitoring and equipment requirements, the Ohio Health Code mandates that public pools must have lifeguards on duty if certain conditions are met.

The lifeguard requirements for public pools are generally determined by factors such as the pool’s surface area, its features, and the number of swimmers present. Specifically, a lifeguard must be present at all times when the pool meets any of the following criteria: it has a zero depth/zero entry, it features a diving board or water slide over ten feet in height, or its surface area measures 2,000 square feet or more. Additionally, a lifeguard must be on duty regardless of the pool’s size when there are 50 or more people in the pool.

If your association’s pool is legally exempt from having a lifeguard, Ohio law mandates that the association must possess certain safety equipment on the premises. This equipment should be easily accessible and visible from the pool area. It includes a non-telescopic 12-foot reach pole with a shepherd’s crook, a United States Coast Guard approved type IV personal flotation device (such as a ring buoy, throw bag, or equivalent throwing device) with a one-quarter inch diameter line measuring between thirty and sixty feet in length, as well as a back or spine board. The association must also prominently display a sign with the following messages: “WARNING, NO LIFEGUARD” and “SWIMMING ALONE IS NOT RECOMMENDED.”

As the summer season approaches and people begin using the pool, it is essential for your association to ensure compliance with these regulations before opening it to members. This will help avoid potential health code violations and ensure the safety of all pool users.


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