In Massachusetts, if you are the owner of a private pool, either as an individual, corporation or perhaps part of a club or association, or if you manage a semi-public or a public pool, then you are responsible for knowing the regulations and laws regarding pool safety.
Finding laws or regulations that govern safety issues for pools in Massachusetts can be a bit difficult. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted the 2009 International Building Code, which governs swimming pool enclosures and safety devices. Here are several codes and regulations often overlooked by pool owners.
Massachusetts code states that residential pool owners must have a barrier covering their pool when not in use. The barrier should not have openings in it that would allow the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere. The pool should also have self-closing gates.
Massachusetts has its own rules for public and semi-public swimming pools such as those found in apartment complexes, country clubs, schools, etc. Chapter 140, Section 206, of the state’s General Laws calls for a 6-foot tall fence to enclose the pool, and that gates be self-latching with latches four feet from the ground. Pools must be equipped with a life ring and a rescue hook. Outdoor pools must be drained and covered within seven days of closing.
Public and semi-public in-ground swimming pools must be inspected annually by the city’s building inspector. The owner of a pool that is found to be violating the rules set forth by the state can be fined up to a thousand dollars per violation.
In addition to facing fines, failing to comply with pool regulations could leave individuals or companies who own them liable if an accident occurs. Pool owners should also check with their specific city or town for local laws pertaining to swimming pool responsibilities to ensure that they’re in compliance with those.
These code and regulations exist to avoid unnecessary accidents, injuries, and even death. If someone you know has been injured at a pool and you have questions about the responsibility and liability of the pool owner, please contact our law office for further information.