Belfast Telegraph

Claims of health and safety breaches at Belfast leisure centre pool rejected

Belfast City Council and their management partner have rejected claims from union Unite about health and safety breaches at Ballysillan Leisure Centre.

Regional officer at Unite, Michael Keenan had claimed that there were a number of health and safety breaches at the leisure centre in the north west of the city.

He blamed management company Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) for breaches at the centre.

“Unite has repeatedly warned about the consequences of outsourcing management of leisure facilities by Belfast City Council. The situation today in Ballysillan is only the latest in a long line of concerning incidents," he said.

He claimed that on Tuesday employees at the leisure centre had reported that the pool had not been correctly chlorinated which had led to murky water.

However a spokesperson for GLL rejected the accusations of health and safety breaches saying Unite had "produced no evidence for their assertions which amount to an unfounded attack on our staff and competence".

Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union and represents some members of staff at Ballysillan Leisure Centre.

Mr Keenan claimed that since being appointed to run Belfast's leisure centres by the council, GLL had done away with the role of plant operator which was contributing to water safety issues.

This claim was rejected outright by GLL who said that "our staff are highly trained and contrary to Unite’s claims, we have increased the number of pool plant operators from 15 to 64".

However GLL did accept that there had been a fault at the leisure centre.

"A fault was reported at Ballysillan, whereupon management immediately initiated proper health and safety procedures," a GLL spokesperson said.

“This can happen in any leisure centre swimming pool. At no time were customers put at risk.

“An independent review of leisure centre operations was carried out in 2017 and no evidence was found to suggest that GLL operates outside of health and safety legislation or guidance.”

A Belfast City Council spokeswoman said that council was confident that all health and safety guidelines were being followed by GLL.

“Health and safety at leisure centres is a top priority for both Belfast City Council and GLL, which operates the centres on our behalf," the spokeswoman said.

"As part of the Council’s strategic partnership with GLL and the independent Active Belfast Board we meet regularly to review service standards and performance through a range of mechanisms, and are confident that GLL operates within all health and safety guidelines."

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