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RULE §265.191Lifeguard Personnel Requirements and Standards at Pools

(a) Lifeguards required. Pools and spas are required to meet the operational standard that is most applicable to their respective use. For example, a pool or spa that is normally operated as a Class C pool or spa but is occasionally made available to the public, with or without a fee, must meet Class B lifeguard standards when the pool is open to the general public, with or without a fee. A minimum of two lifeguards must be provided at:

  (1) Class A pools during competitive events;

  (2) Class B pools whenever the Class B pool is open;

  (3) any pool where a user enters the water from any height above the deck or wall, including from diving boards, diving platforms, drop slides, waterslides, starting platforms, zip lines, or climbing walls that are open for use;

  (4) any wave or surf pool; or

  (5) any pool while it is being used for the recreation of youth groups, including youth camps, visiting childcare groups, or visiting school groups, and a minimum of two lifeguards must be provided by either the aquatic facility or by the youth group using the aquatic facility.

(b) Closing diving boards, diving platforms, drop slides, waterslides, starting platforms, zip line, or climbing wall. A diving board, diving platform, drop slide, waterslide, starting platform, zip line, climbing wall, or any other structure that allows entry from any height above the deck will be considered open unless there is a lock, chain, or other method used to prevent access to these structures, and a sign is posted on the entry to these structures stating that they are closed.

(c) Lifeguards at spas. Lifeguards are not required at spas.

(d) Lifeguard staffing plan required. A staffing plan specifying the number of on-duty lifeguards must be prepared by the pool operator, lifeguard supervisor, or pool owner, and must provide adequate supervision and close observation of all users at all times. A copy of the plan must be available on-site and be provided to a DSHS or local regulatory authority inspector upon request.

(e) Surveillance area. Each lifeguard must be given an assigned surveillance area commensurate with ability and training. The lifeguard must be able to view the entire assigned surveillance area.

(f) Other duties must not distract. Lifeguards conducting surveillance of users must not be assigned duties that would distract the lifeguard's attention from proper observation of the users or that would prevent immediate assistance to persons in the water.

(g) Lifeguard rotation required. When lifeguards are provided or required, a rotation procedure for lifeguards is required. Lifeguards must have break time from guarding activities as recommended by ARC or equivalent aquatic safety organization.

(h) Lifeguard training and drills. When lifeguards are provided or required, alertness and response drills and any other training is required, including:

  (1) a pre-season training program;

  (2) a continual "in-service" program of at least a minimum of 60 minutes for every 40 hours of employment by the lifeguard or other aquatic safety personnel;

  (3) a review of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards for responding to formed-stool contamination, diarrheal-stool contamination, vomit contamination, and contamination involving blood;

  (4) performance audits as recommended by the ARC, Young Men's Christian Association, or by an equivalent aquatic safety organization; and

  (5) a facility emergency action plan for an event, such as submersion, suspected spinal injury, medical emergency, thunderstorm, missing person, bad weather, or chemical exposure.

(i) Emergency action plan. Any pool or spa emergency action plan must contain the following:

  (1) a list of emergency phone numbers and contacts, including the trained and certified operator;

  (2) the location of the first-aid kit and other rescue equipment such as the AED, BVM, and backboard;

  (3) a response plan for inclement weather such as a thunderstorm, lightning, or high wind, including evacuation areas; and

  (4) a plan following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards for responding to formed-stool contamination, diarrheal-stool contamination, vomit contamination, and contamination involving blood.

(j) Lifeguard records. All training must be kept current. Records confirming the status of training must be made available upon request. If records are not kept on-site, records must be provided to DSHS or local regulatory authority within five business days of the request. The following records pertaining to lifeguards must be kept three years:

  (1) each lifeguard's certification, including the expiration date; and

  (2) records of the most current training, including date, length of training, training topic, trainer name, and attendee.

(k) Lifeguard access to safety equipment. Lifeguards must have access to safety equipment including:

  (1) an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant, minimum 24-unit first aid kit housed in a durable weather-resistant container that is fully stocked and ready for use. The kit must include disease transmission barriers and cleaning kits meeting OSHA standards;

  (2) at least one backboard equipped with a head immobilizer and sufficient straps to immobilize a person to the backboard located close enough to a pool or spa to enable a two-minute response time to an incident in a pool or spa.

  (3) at least one portable AED and one BVM kept in a secure location that can be easily and quickly accessed by lifeguards or other trained personnel.

(l) Lifeguard stands. OSHA-compliant lifeguard stands with platforms for lifeguards are required where water depth is greater than 5 feet and must have a protective umbrella or sunshade high enough to give lifeguards a complete and unobstructed view of the assigned area of surveillance for the lifeguards. Lifeguard stands and platforms must be located such that there are no hazards such as electrical wires directly overhead.

(m) Personal lifeguard equipment. Each lifeguard must be provided with the following personal equipment:

  (1) uniform attire that readily identifies the lifeguard as a staff member and a lifeguard;

  (2) a rescue tube with attached rope or strap;

  (3) personal protective devices including a resuscitation mask with one-way valve and non-latex, non-powdered, single use disposable gloves worn in a hip pack or attached to the rescue tube; and

  (4) a whistle or other signaling device for communicating to users, other lifeguards, or staff.

(n) Minimum lifeguard standards. The standards in this subsection are considered minimum standards. Pool owners or operators may require additional and more stringent lifeguard policies, procedures, staffing requirements, training requirements, and performance audits.

Source Note: The provisions of this §265.191 adopted to be effective January 1, 2023, 47 TexReg 8668

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