|CPSC Staff Interpretation of Section 1404
‘‘Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act’’
APSP Pool & Spa Safety Act Press Release
Pool & Spa News
SNHD Pool and Spa Safety Act 2007 Notice
|Westside Pool and the Virginia Graeme Baker
Pool and Spa Safety Act
WESTSIDE POOL INC. VGB COMPLIANCE POLICY
1) Replace all submerged outlets covers with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant covers.
No other device can provide protection against all five recognized forms of entrapment (pg 2)
Ensure that the covers have a flow rating capable of the full flow rate of the pump or the specific suction system and that
the sump meets the manufacturers installation guidelines and requirements for proper velocity and flow rate. Be sure that
the retrofit is done correctly, inspect the sump and frame for degradation and replace old, worn frames. It appears that
almost all of the entrapments and all of the eviscerations were due to missing drain covers. In many cases this was the
result of shoddy maintenance. Uncertified and inexperienced staff improperly installed drain covers with non-stainless
steel screws into worn, inferior frames resulting in tragic consequences.
“The majority of suction entrapments and problems the industry is having are [because of] missing and broken drain
covers,” said Leif Zars, project team leader for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ committee for suction
outlet covers. “And they’re missing because they weren’t attached properly.”
2) Eliminate single main drains.
Replace single main drains with either Hydraulically Balanced and Symmetrically plumbed split drains or Unblockable
Channel drains utilizing the ANSI/APSP-7 2006 American National Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance
guidelines to ensure safe flow rates at the cover.
The APSP reports:
“Review of all reported incidents and communication with officials of all 50 states reveals not a single reported
entrapment injury where properly spaced dual drains were in place.”
This is particularly crucial in spas. Where all that stands between a tragic evisceration is a missing drain cover and a split
second. The new covers are much safer and address all five entrapment types, but they are still secured by two easily
removed Phillips head screws. THERE IS NO BACKUP FOR A MISSING COVER.
CPSC will prioritize enforcement of the law to facilities that pose the greatest risk of drain entrapment to children,
specifically in-ground spas, where they use single main drain systems.
Los Angeles County is one of many jurisdictions requiring all pools and spas to split drains or install Channel drains.
3) Limit flow rate at the covers.
ANSI/APSP-7 limits flow rate to not exceed 6 fps (pg 3), or 3 fps when divided amongst dual outlets. This lower suction
force helps prevent hair entrapment and limits the differential pressure when one of the multiple outlets is blocked. The
state of Florida and other jurisdictions are requiring that the flow rate must not exceed 3 fps, or 1.5 fps when divided
amongst dual outlets and drain manufacturers are now making covers that meet or exceed the 1.5 fps standard.
A good analogy for understanding velocity and flow rates at the drain cover is that of a garden hose. Imagine a garden
hose with the water running, you can take a drink or water a plant. But, to spray a younger sibling you need to place your
thumb over the end, restrict the flow, increase the velocity and soak your victim. The smaller the “area” the more velocity.
New covers have larger “area” they allow less restriction. Less restriction helps eliminate the number one cause of
entrapment, hair being sucked into and entangled in the cover.
(SVRS systems do NOT address hair entrapment - pg 3, 16).
4) Frequent inspections.
Finally the most important thing that you, the pool owner/operator, can do to make your pool & spa as safe as possible is
conduct frequent inspections. A designated person should be assigned to inspect the pool & facilities before opening
each morning and periodically during pool operating hours. This inspection should check for damaged or missing drain
covers, inspect gate latches and fences, inspect water turbidity (clarity), enforce bather loads, hygiene rules and the
SNHD 444 regulations. In the event of a safety violation – CLOSE THE POOL IMMEDIATELY and secure with chains,
locks and closed signs. The pool area must remain closed until the problem has been resolved.
Failure to eliminate single main drains and maintain the utmost vigilance can result in tragic consequences. The 1993
evisceration of Valerie Lakey resulted in a $25 million judgment and shed light on at least twelve other evisceration
incidents. The recent 2007 evisceration of Abigail Taylor at the Minneapolis Golf Club helped push thorough the passage
of the Virginia Graeme Baker legislation. The settlement in that case exceeded the $6 million limit on the club's
insurance, so the members had to vote to get a $2 million bank loan to pay the difference.
(SVRS systems do NOT address evisceration - pg. 3, 16).
All information is the opinion of Westside Pool Inc. and is intended for the informational purposes of our service
customers only. Please consult an attorney or "Certified Professional Engineer" for legal advice regarding VGB.
Westside Pool Inc.
|Westside Pool Inc. Update on VGB
All pools & spas are to remain closed
until they comply with VGB.
Westside Pool Inc advises splitting drains or installing
unblockable channel drains in accordance with SNHD
regulations and the
ANSI/APSP-7 2006 American National Standard for Suction
Entrapment Avoidance Guidelines