Date published: 26th September 2019

Woodland Caravan Site has been ordered to pay fines, costs and a victim surcharge totalling £103,120 and Foley and Baugh Associates has been ordered to pay a total of £5137 after a swimmer was pulled unconscious from a swimming pool at the site in Trimingham in March 2017.

Both firms pleaded guilty to failing to discharge their general health, safety and welfare duty at a hearing at Norwich Magistrates Court in March 2019 and were sentenced by District Judge Woollard at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Friday 20 September 2019.

Woodlands Caravan Site (Trimingham) Ltd, the company which operated and managed the pool, was charged with breach of the duty it owed to do so in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that swimmers there were not exposed to the risks of drowning between 12 March 2015 and 1 April 2017.

Alan Baugh, a safety consultant from Great Yarmouth, trading as Foley and Baugh Associates, provided health and safety consultancy and advice services to Woodlands Caravan Site (Trimingham) Ltd. He was charged with breach of the duty he owed to do so in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that swimmers at the pool were not exposed to the risks of drowning between 1 December 2015 and 1 April 2017.

Both charges were breaches of duties under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, contrary to section 33(1)(a) of that Act.

North Norfolk District Council prosecuted following an investigation into the incident where a swimmer got into difficulty and was under the water for more than five minutes before being rescued by other swimmers. The swimmer was hospitalised and has since made a good recovery.

Cllr. Sarah Bütikofer, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “I hope that the outcome today demonstrates the importance of all businesses in ensuring the health and safety of their customers, especially in swimming pools where the risks are well known and the need for effective supervision is absolutely necessary. If businesses are using safety consultants they must ensure that they are receiving an adequate and suitable service from them, otherwise they may both face action if problems arise, as in this case.

“This prosecution should serve as a clear indication of how seriously North Norfolk District Council treats incidents where standards have not been met and that court action was the only option in this serious case.  The outcome for the swimmer could have been very different had it not been for the commendable actions of the members of the public in the pool at the time, and those with responsibility for the health and safety for others need to be absolutely clear of what the consequences are if they do not comply with legislation.”

Free guidance on the management and operation of swimming pools is available on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Last updated: 26th September 2019