We are issuing this safety alert after a worker at a public swimming pool incorrectly mixed chemicals, releasing toxic chlorine gas and injuring several swimming pool patrons.

Preliminary findings indicate the two chemicals were a chlorine-releasing salt called dry chlorine and sodium bisulphate.

For safe results, each chemical should be released in opposite ends of the pool.

However, it appears both chemicals were released in the same area, which resulted in a chemical reaction, affecting a number of pool patrons with some requiring overnight hospital care

How to stay safe when using hazardous chemicals

  1. Workers must always be provided with clear instructions for tasks involving hazardous chemicals.
  2. Workers should also be regularly assessed to make sure they’re competent in these potentially dangerous tasks
  3. Where possible, eliminate the need for workers to handle hazardous chemicals. For example, consider using liquid chemicals in bulk containers plumbed directly to the pool water system to eliminate the need to manually refill storage and dosing containers
  4. Do not mix incompatible chemicals.
  5. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective clothing and equipment: gloves, safety goggles, trousers and long-sleeved shirts etc.
  6. Ensure adequate ventilation.
  7. Always add chemicals to the water. Never add water to the chemicals.
  8. Do not prepare more chemical than you need for the job.
  9. Do not pour chemicals down the drain, toilet or gutter.
  10. If you spill chemicals, follow the safety directions on the container label.
  11. Do not reuse empty containers or re-pack product in different containers.

Stop using any chemicals immediately if you notice skin rash, headache, breathing problems, nausea, eye irritation, etc. Follow first-aid instructions.

Anyone with concerns can contact the Poisons Information Line on 131 136, or if it’s an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

Further information

Back to top