Sad incident a reminder to fulfil safety obligations


A company has admitted health and safety failings which resulted in the death of a six year-old boy who was found unconscious in a swimming pool in Arbroath.

Loch Earn Caravan Parks Limited, which owns the Seafront Leisure Centre and the Red Lion Holiday Park, were fined £234,000 at Forfar Sheriff Court after the death of Aidan Yule in 2011.

They pled guilty to a contravention of Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

On 18th June 2011, Aidan was with his family and was playing in the main pool at the Red Lion Holiday Park when, unnoticed, his head slipped under the water. CCTV showed that he was spotted less than a minute later but he was found unconscious. Patrons of the pool attempted CPR and Aidan was rushed by ambulance to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, but he was pronounced dead on June 22, 2011.

The circumstances surrounding the death were jointly investigated by Angus Council and the former Tayside Police force. This was an extensive investigation which included the commissioning of an independent expert report in relation to the pool arrangements.

It was found that no risk assessment had been carried out and that little consideration had been given to the potential risks to the public in relation to the use of the swimming pool. Staff had not received adequate training on safety procedures such as monitoring those using the pools, ensuring pool rules were enforced or responding to accidents or emergencies.

It was also found that there was inadequate supervision of the swimming pool and a lack of lifeguards monitoring the pool was contrary to the recommendations contained in HSE guidance.

Gary Aitken, Head of the Procurator Fiscal’s Health & Safety Division said: “The measures that Loch Earn put in place were insufficient to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the safety of members of the public using its pool.

“The presence of a lifeguard on duty at the poolside would have reduced the likelihood of the incident occurring and the failure to have lifeguards in place is a significant factor in the incident and the resulting tragic death of a six year old boy.

“Hopefully this sad incident will remind other pool operators that failure to fulfil their obligations in law can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings. Pool operators need to read the relevant guidance and ensure that their safety arrangements match legal requirements.”