Council completes investigation into South West Rocks pool

Kempsey Shire Council

Kempsey Shire Council has completed a thorough investigation regarding the electrical safety issues at South West Rocks Swimming Pool, which were detected by teachers and students from South West Rocks Primary School on 21 November 2023.

Given the nature of the incident, and particularly given it involved primary school students, Council has taken this matter very seriously.

Craig Milburn, General Manager, has assured the community that the South West Rocks Swimming Pool has been made safe by qualified electricians.

“Firstly, I would like to thank the school staff on site and the pool staff for their professionalism in identifying and managing the immediate scenario,” said Mr Milburn.

“We are extremely concerned by the incident. We have conducted an investigation of the incident and an electrical safety audit of the entire site and will be undertaking further electrical safety audits of other Council sites in the coming months, including our other pools. Please be assured that Council, our staff and Councillors consider the safety of the community to be our first priority.”

The facility was immediately closed once the electrical issue was identified.

An investigation by an independent qualified electrician concluded that the light pole located between the two swimming pools was the source of the issue. Evidence suggests the light pole became electrified after an animal chewed through an electrical cable on the light subcircuit.

After the incident, the site was made safe by qualified electricians, who removed the light’s submain, sub circuit and pole from service and tagged out prior to reopening the pool to the public later in the day on 21 November.

A complete electrical safety audit of the pool has since been conducted. Council has already addressed any urgent or safety related action items from this audit and will address the remaining issues in the near future.

This will include the removal of the light pole, when the pool closes in the off-season between April and August 2023.

It is worth noting that Council had engaged an independent specialist to audit Council’s pool facilities in 2022, which included assessment of electrical infrastructure. This assessment did not identify any risks with the light sub circuit at the South West Rocks Swimming Pool at that time.

SafeWork NSW was notified of the incident shortly after the event and have also conducted an investigation of the incident. Noting Council’s response to the incident, no additional orders, compliance issues or notices have been issued.

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