August 2014 - page 11

Florida Pool Pro
• August 2014
not been followed. The fatal consequences of their noncompliant work led to
the electricians being charged with criminally negligent homicide.
That was not an isolated incident. In April, a seven-year-old Florida boy
died when he was electrocuted in his family’s swimming pool. The source of
the lethal current was also attributed to a faulty underwater lighting fixture.
These tragedies might cause someone to jump to the conclusion that
underwater lighting in swimming pools should be prohibited. When we take
a closer look at these two incidents, though, it becomes apparent that the
accidents more than likely could have been prevented through compliance
with the requirements of Article 680 in the
and by maintaining the
equipment to ensure continued safe operation. Underwater lights not only
provide aesthetic value, but when pools are used after dark, illumination
allows swimmers to be seen by those outside of the pool, a desirable safety
feature particularly in deeper water.
Requirements covering electrical installations associated with swimming
pools, including underwater lighting equipment, have been in the
1962. The rules covering the installation of underwater lighting are some of
the most stringent in the
. The use of ground-fault circuit-interrupters
in the circuit supplying line-voltage underwater lights or the use of lighting
equipment operating at a low voltage level considered to be safe are the two
acceptable protection strategies specified inArticle 680. In addition, the wiring
methods and installation practices are tightly controlled.
While some may question why these rules are so rigid, there is clear
evidence that when these rules are followed, lighting equipment installed in
a pool does not pose a threat to swimmers. There is also tragic evidence that
when the requirements are not followed and the equipment is not maintained,
the old adage about water and electricity not mixing is a truism with potentially
fatal consequences.
Reprinted with permission of NFPA Journal, the official magazine of the
National Fire Protection Association.
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