Small hotels, B&Bs, family-run pensions etc… are at risk: the safety measures required under a new European standard on the safety of swimming pools, which is being voted at the moment are threatening their business. These go as far as saying that they would have to have a lifeguard present at all times, to have a costly risk assessment made, including terrorist risk assessment!
The standard (pr15288-2 Safety requirements for operation of swimming pools) has been developed by a CEN Technical Committee ruled by certifiers and consultants, who have put their interests above those of the people who will have to comply with the standard.
This will be official on 24 June if the standard authorities in the Members States do not vote against! GRTU has already sent an official letter to the person in charge at the Malta Standards Authority (MSA) explaining its position and reasoning of why the MSA should vote against.
If this standard was voted, many of these small businesses would have to give up offering swimming pools as a service.
NORMAPME, the European Association representing SMEs in the standardisation process, shares HOTREC analysis when stating that "the text still includes a great number of requirements (…) that could be quite burdensome, especially for small hotel pool operators".
The main concerns of small hospitality stakeholders are mainly related to the excessive requirements of the very complex risk assessment and for "overqualified" personnel. They both require financial and human resources that small hotels do not have.
For instance, if this draft standard is approved, the owner of a 5 room hotel run by a couple will need to assess elements like terrorism risks, and undergo trained to become a lifeguard.
The definition of the qualifications required are so strict that only very few people answer these requirements. A hotel can maybe have one staff trained but what happens when this person is sick or on leave?
GRTU fears that if prEN 15288 is approved, it will be used by regulators or some market actors like insurance companies to force small hospitality stakeholders to comply with this standard. Hence, since it will be too costly, complex, heavy, high in red tape and on personnel requirements, these small businesses would have to give up offering swimming pools as a service.
Swimming pools in hotel are a service greatly appreciated by guests. The approval of this European standard would drive tourists from hotels located in Europe to the ones outside Europe (e.g. from northern Mediterranean Sea countries (Europe) to southern Mediterranean Sea countries).
To guarantee the future availability of swimming pools in small hotels, CEN members shall hear the voice of European SMEs and reject this draft standard.