Home swimming pools

More and more Finnish homes set up a swimming pool in their garden for the summer. There are, however, risks involved in swimming pool use. These include:

  • risks involved in pool use;
  • risks resulting from poor water quality;
  • risks related to water purification chemicals.

Hazardous situations occur in circumstances including when pool users, particularly children, are not under appropriate supervision. When the pool is not used, access to the pool should be prevented. If the pool not installed as instructed, the pool’s structure may collapse. Poorly treated water or incorrect dosage of chemicals may present a risk to users' health.

Swimming pools must meet the general safety requirements set in consumer safety legislation: they must not pose a risk to consumer health or property. The clarity of installation and user instructions is an important element in swimming pool safety.

Swimming pools should be supplied with a protective cover to maintain water purity or these should at least be available for purchase at the retail outlet. Because protective covers may not be able to take the weight of a person, they must be labelled with an appropriate warning. If steps or ladders are sold as pool accessories, those offered for sale must be sturdy and appropriate in size in relation to the size of the pool.

Swimming pool user instructions

Under the Consumer Safety Act (920/2011), consumers must be provided with the information necessary for the safe use of the product or service.

Under section 3 of the Government decree on information to be supplied in respect of consumer products and services (613/2004), the minimum requirement for the information to be provided on the sales packaging of consumer products, unless otherwise apparent without opening the sales packaging, is the product's name in accordance with commercial practice and the name of the manufacturer, the party for whom the product was manufactured or the importer.

Under section 4 of the Decree, at least the following information must be provided about swimming pools in order to prevent any risk to health or property:

  • instructions for assembly, installation and other corresponding issues;
  • instructions for use and storage;
  • hazard and warning labelling necessary for usage;
  • instructions concerning measures necessary for water purification;
  • maintenance, washing and cleaning instructions;
  • instructions for withdrawal from use, storage and disposal;
  • information about the risks involved in use and disposal.

This information must be provided in a clear and easy-to-understand format. The issues must be presented logically and in the order of action that the consumer is intended or can be expected to take. User instructions and any warnings affixed to swimming pools must be provided in Finnish and Swedish. Failure to provide appropriate user instructions is also considered as a defect under the Consumer Safety Act.

Who is responsible for the safety of swimming pools?

 Operators carry the primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of products manufactured, marketed and sold by them. This applies to manufacturers, importers and sellers at the various levels of wholesale and retail trade.

The operator's duty to take care laid down in the Consumer Safety Act aims to prevent hazards and accidents in advance. The notification obligation requires that operators notify the authorities on their own initiative if they detect that a product manufactured or sold by them poses a risk to consumer safety.

Who conducts surveillance of the safety of swimming pools?

 Surveillance of swimming pool safety and compliance of labelling and user instructions with regulations is conducted by Tukes.