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Reducing Risk, Protecting People

Willoughby Aquatics Safety Innovation

Posted by Clarion Safety Systems | 15th May 2019

The Need for Pool Safety Signs that Communicate Effectively
Every swimming environment – from indoor racing pools to community recreational facilities to outdoor bodies of water – comes with its own set of challenges, which translates into unique policies for visitors. Safety signs are a critical part of keeping swimmers safe and fulfilling legal duty to warn requirements. But, many pool safety signs in use today are inadequate. Text-only messages and long rule lists bury important information. To be an effective layer of protection, signs have to be seen by guests and understood.

Best Practice System for Aquatics Safety
The Parks and Recreation Department in Willoughby, Ohio operates a number of parks and facilities, including two outdoor pools. It was the 2016 winner of Aquatics International’s Best of Aquatics Award for Innovations in Safety , received in part due to upgrading its pool safety signage. However, prior to the upgrade, lifeguards for the City of Willoughby Parks and Recreation department were performing an excessive amount of “pull-outs” each year – where a lifeguard needs to physically pull a swimmer out of the pool. Management wanted to reduce these incidents and increase safety, especially in a particularly problematic section of the pool just beyond the kiddie features area. Willoughby Parks and Recreation reached out to Clarion Safety for a solution.

Clarion Safety’s Fix for More Effective Communication
The department introduced a four-point plan, which included life jackets, pool markers, swim lessons – and safety signage. For the signage component, Clarion Safety developed a pool safety sign system using best practice graphic designs and repetition of messages to effectively communicate the most serious hazards present: “No Diving,” “Non-Swimmers Wear Lifejackets,” “No Long Breath Holding” and “Watch Your Children.” The strategy resulted in a 55% decrease in pull-outs as well as being honored with Aquatics International’s Best of Aquatics Award for Innovations in Safety . “The major reduction was due to encouraging parents to put lifejackets on non-swimmers, a challenge for a community that had been told ‘No Lifejackets Allowed’ for decades. Our new signs immediately helped win over our patrons and achieve buy-in from our lifeguards,” management reports.


Powerful Messages for Increased Safety
Willoughby’s Recreation Coordinator, Jim Clark, said, “At our pools, people didn’t seem to pay much attention to our traditional signs listing pool rules. Clarion Safety’s pool safety sign system gives clear, simple and correct safety messages, in a powerful way. I would highly recommend these signs to anyone looking to communicate safety effectively.”

Clarion Safety Can Help Your Business or Organization
For over 25 years, Clarion Safety has been at the top of the field of visual safety communication. We are long-term leaders of the best practice ANSI and ISO standards – and we’ll use that knowledge to help you warn as effectively as possible. With 15,000+ clients and nearly 100 million signs and labels in use, zero Clarion Safety customers have had warning-based allegations brought against them.

We work with you every step of the way – from planning, to implementation and beyond – to come up with customized, holistic risk management solutions that take the unique hazards of your industry or work environment into account.

Clarion Safety’s best practice, standards-compliant safety systems can help increase safety and reduce liability at your pool or aquatic center. Contact us today to learn more!

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