Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 24 2017 Contents 230 • THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 24
HEALTH + SAFETY
Royal Life Saving's assessment program is underpinned by
a practical and evidence-based approach. Royal Life Saving's
expertise in this area, through conducting reports and analysis of
data related to drownings across the state, means that it is well
placed to assist the City of Swan in ensuring the safety of home
pools in its region.
Water safety in aquatic facilities
The formulation and implementation of risk management,
and occupational health and safety standards is essential
to maintaining an enjoyable and safe aquatic environment.
There are hundreds of public swimming pools run by local
governments across Australia, and Royal Life Saving has
developed a suite of guidelines to assist owners and managers
of aquatic facilities in a range of environments. This information
can help them to make decisions about safety, including areas
such as lifeguard-to-patron ratios, in-service training, venue
emergency response procedures and program safety.
Complementing this commitment to risk management,
Royal Life Saving is also the largest provider of training services
to the aquatic recreation sector, training more than 330,000
individuals annually in lifeguarding, first aid and general water
safety programs to ensure that all staff members are receiving
the appropriate level of training.
Case study: aquatic facility safety across New South
There are more than 100 public swimming pools run by local
government bodies in New South Wales. Royal Life Saving --
New South Wales (RLSNSW) currently partners directly with
more than half of these venues in order to provide education
and training to their employees. Many of the staff members at
the remaining facilities access training directly through Royal Life
Saving on a yearly basis. More than 3500 lifeguards were trained
in New South Wales over the last 12 months.
In 2016, 36 council-owned facilities across New South Wales
engaged with Royal Life Saving in undertaking Aquatic Facility
Safety Assessments (AFSA), which was one-third of all AFSAs
conducted over the year, with many rated as a 5-star facility
by RLSNSW. For many of these facilities, the AFSA provides an
essential independent view of their risk management systems.
Drowning prevention in inland waterways
Inland waterways account for approximately 30 per cent of
drowning deaths, with more than 1045 people drowning in
Australian rivers, creeks and streams between July 2002 and
With the support of the federal government, Royal Life
Saving has developed a national drowning prevention and
public awareness campaign called Respect the River to address
these tragic statistics.
Research that was conducted by Royal Life Saving identified
the top 10 river drowning locations across Australia. These top 10
rivers, including the Murray, Swan, Yarra, Brisbane, Hawkesbury
and Murrumbidgee rivers, are great sources of tourism and
recreation, but they do pose significant risk of drowning.
The Respect the River program is working with communities
along these rivers to address the risk factors known to contribute
to drowning. The program targets risk-taking behaviours in men,
including drinking while boating, fishing and swimming; works
with tourism operators, including those leasing out houseboats
and camping grounds; provides swimming and water safety
education to local school children; and supports safety campaigns
with local government, police and water-catchment authorities.
Swimming and water safety education remains a critical long-
term issue. The Australian environment and the community's love
of the water means that swimming, lifesaving and water safety
skills are an essential part of the Australian way of life.
It's important that all Australians have the skills to prevent
drowning, avoid hazards, swim to safety and make safer choices
about life jackets, rescue techniques and places to swim. It is a
long-term investment in a happy, healthy and safer community.
About the Royal Life Saving Society -- Australia
Royal Life Saving Society -- Australia is one of Australia's peak
water safety bodies, leading efforts to reduce drowning and
increase swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills across
the Australian community. Royal Life Saving's key areas of
focus include inland waterways, and public and private
Royal Life Saving is part of the Australian Water Safety
Council, which acts as a consultative forum comprising the
major water safety organisations and related government
agencies, and presents key water safety issues to
governments, industry and the community.
The council has developed a strategy that identifies 11
goals where action is required in order to achieve a 50 per
cent reduction in drowning by the year 2020.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy includes three priority
areas reliant on the involvement of local government:
• reducing child drowning in backyard swimming pools
• ensuring water safety in aquatic facilities
• reducing drowning in inland waterways.
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