We’ve really been on a theme kick in 2019, and for this issue it’s safety. The interesting thing about our industry is that when you talk about safety you’ve got two areas to cover — workplace safety and customer safety.
When I started working in the industry back in 2008, I remember learning quickly to be careful how I wrote about pool safety. The feeling I got was that it was OK to talk about safety features, but not in a way that would scare people away: ‘Don’t use the word drowning unless you have to.’ With the proper measures in place, a swimming pool is a wonderful, safe place for families to enjoy, but it’s 2019, and according to The Centers for Disease Control, drowning is still the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4, and second among ages 5 to 9.
Of course, those drownings aren’t all in pools — they could be in lakes, rivers, bathtubs or any other body of water. And of course, you can’t sit in your customer’s backyard 24/7 to ensure they keep their doors and gates locked, their covers on and they aren’t distracted when their kids are near the pool. But part of me still feels like some of the responsibility falls on us. If we aren’t preaching the importance of safety to our customers when we’re building, servicing or maintaining their swimming pools, who else will?
It is a huge responsibility, and one that I know most of you take very seriously. But I want to encourage all of you, when you’re in that uncomfortable moment with a client — maybe they want to spend the money on an aesthetic feature over an auto cover, or maybe they say they don’t need to fix something on their pool because the grandkids hardly get in it anymore — to stick to your guns. If they won’t put their family’s safety first, you should.
The same goes for workplace safety. It is so easy, especially if you’re a one-person business, to get a little lax about safety. Unfortunately, many of the workplace safety procedures we talk about in this issue were the direct result of an accident. Please don’t let that be you — learn from some of these horror stories and, for the sake of you and your employees’ safety, put the correct safeguards in place and stick to them.
How’s that for a soapbox? I hate to be preachy, but I’m definitely the judgey mom at the pool, giving side-eye to parents watching their phones instead of their kids. Unfortunately, in this job you hear about all the tragedies, and if it takes a few more of us hollering about safety to save some lives, so be it.