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Steel stress corrosion puts swimmers at risk


STAINLESS STEEL components in swimming pools are still being wrongly specified, and maintenance and inspection procedures remain inadequate, leading safety body the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) warned last week.

SCOSS, which is backed by the ICE, IStructE and the Health & Safety Executive, said it issued the warning after a conference in September highlighted experts' concerns.

SCOSS secretary John Carpenter said the problem was stress corrosion cracking in areas of high applied stress levels. This was caused mainly by high temperatures, humidity and the use of chlorine-based disinfectants.

This had been identified as the cause of the collapse of a Swiss swimming pool roof in 1985, in which 12 people died (NCE 16 May 1985).

'There is a very wide range of stainless steel grades and it's essential to specify the right one, ' said Carpenter.

'And many stainless steel fixings and fittings are hidden, so swimming pool managers need to know if and where they have such items and if they are at risk of stress corrosion cracking, ' he added.

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