Know service professional safety duties
By Marcelle Dibrell
Today’s pool service goes beyond maintaining proper water chemistry and ensuring good equipment function. To a great extent, it is also about providing and preserving a bather-safe environment.
Because in addition to simply caring about a customer’s well being, service professionals face tremendous liability every time they enter a backyard. Service professionals can be held responsible for safeguarding users from electric shock, assuring that carbon monoxide is safely vented, ensuring that main drain covers are compliant and in good condition, checking that gates, fences, and covers meet local codes, and much more.
Gone are the days of simply adding chemicals and skimming leaves off the water. Today’s pool owners are sophisticated consumers of services, expecting more and assigning blame with greater ease. The standard of service has risen.
Not providing for certain aspects of bather safety can be considered a breach of duty, often resulting in costly lawsuits where the last person at the scene is held responsible. In fact, service professionals have a duty to maintain the pool and equipment in a manner that makes it safe for users.
And the duty is large. Liability can be assumed if the service professional knew or should have known that a dangerous condition exists.
Clearly. there are two ways to breach that duty: by doing something wrong, or doing nothing at all. Service professionals should avoid pools with safety hazards that could lead to property damage, injury, or death. Steer clear of accounts with high-risk hazards such as improperly vented heaters, missing drain covers, or broken lights.
Demand the hazard be fixed, or drop the account because release of liability forms offer little protection from litigation.
When it comes to unresolved safety hazards, the best advice is to notify the customer, and to do so in writing. Send a notice of the hazard and its potential consequences by certified mail.
In today’s litigious society, it is essential to protect yourself.
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