Parliament has approved a bill that recommends the regulation and supervision of swimming pools, both in hotels and in private properties, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents and deaths in Portuguese swimming pools.
According to a report released this year by the national observatory on drowning, the victims were mostly men of all ages. In addition, seven of the victims were foreign - two of the victims were British, two were Brazilian, followed by a Ukrainian and a Cape Verdean. Five of them died in private pools, all the others in rivers, beaches, etc.
A year ago, DECO alerted policy makers to the legislative gap in this matter and the need for a legal framework, as there was only specific legislation and requirements for sports pools and those located in entertainment venues in water parks.
With regard to swimming pools in tourist establishments, the reference to technical standards is almost unnoticeable in the legislation that regulates the installation of pools and their operation. Furthermore, the bill at stake only provides for obligations in terms of assistance and surveillance. However, DECO highlighted that the bill that “should establish inspections for this type of aquatic spaces and fines in case of non-compliance with the rules were never published”.
Deco Algarve added that the current regulation does not apply to local accommodation pools and to private pools located in condominiums.
“By recognising these legal gaps, entities such as the Portuguese Institute of Quality, a Directorate-General for Health or a Portuguese Association of Swimming Pool Professionals have already issued several recommendations for the construction of swimming pools and their safe operation. However, these processes are not yet mandatory,” said DECO.
Although this proposal by the Parliament is only a recommendation, it meets DECO's concerns with regard to the protection of the health and safety of consumers, and “is yet another victory for the Association that encourages Parliament to continue to develop its work in terms of Consumer Protection”, DECO concluded.
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