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Pool And Hot Tub Documentation Basics


The Importance Of Documentation

It may seem like a tired mantra used by every inspection organization in the pool and hot tub industry, but documentation is truly one of the most important aspects of operating a pool and hot tub facility. We may be doing a great job at maintaining safe, healthy pools and hot tubs, but that doesn't mean anything if we haven't kept record of what we have been doing to maintain this safety. And oftentimes an operator only knows the crucial nature of paperwork when the health inspector comes asking for it. In this article we are going to explore the most important documents to keep and methods for keeping those documents.


What Pool and Hot Tub Documents Do I Need?

It can't be stressed enough how important documentation is but oftentimes we don't even know what kind of documentation to keep. There are a few important documents you will want to keep track of at your property:

  • Chemical logs
  • Maintenance Logs
  • Opening Closing Checklist
  • Incident reports
  • Accidental Fecal Response
  • Illness Response
  • Repair Logs

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the documentation you'll need to keep. This is just a few of the most important documents you will want to keep up at your property. Let's explore each of these documents a little more carefully. 


Chemical Logs

Most states and municipalities have an aquatics operational code and in that code it requires a specific frequency of testing. For instance, the Colorado state code requires that operators be performing 3 chemical tests on a pool every day and a test every 2 hours during open hours on hot tubs. What is required to be recorded during these tests is going to vary greatly from state to state and city to city. Because of this variation, it is crucial that you download a copy of your state and local code to make sure you are keeping track of at least the minimum requirement per the code. You can find a list of state and local codes for you area on our website by clicking here


Maintenance Logs

Making sure that everyone is doing their due diligence to keep our properties as safe as possible is hugely important. Making sure everyone is documenting how they are executing this on a daily basis is not only important, it is the law. It is our duty as operators to show through our documentation that we are providing a place free from unreasonable risk or harm factors. From scrubbing tiles to the changing of filter sand should be documented when the task has been performed. Again, a paper trail many miles long is going to save you from legal trouble all day long. 


Opening & Closing Checklist

This checklist walks operators through all the tasks that are needed to be performed in order for the pool to open that day. This checklist also needs to be performed at the end of the operating day as well. A checklist like this is also great for new operators to use as a blueprint for operation. If your site has not created an opening and closing checklist for the property, be sure to create and implement one. You can find an example of an opening and closing checklist inside the PHTA's Certified Pool Operator Handbook on Page 240. 


Incident Reports

If ever there is an incident with a guest or an operator it must be documented. Failure to do so can lead to massive inconveniences in the courtroom. Again, one of the easiest things yet most neglected things to do at our properties is the filling out of an incident report. What are some examples of when an Incident report should be filled out? 

  • A guest trips on the pool deck and receives an injury
  • A guest empties the contents of their stomach into your pool
  • A guest complains of chest pains from use of the hot tub and the paramedics are called a result

These are not the only examples for when a report should be filled out, merely examples of issues that would need to be recorded in an incident report. 


Accidental Fecal Reports

An AFR report is crucial to be completed after a guest or animal has introduced feces into the pool or hot tub. The way you respond to a fecal issue is crucial to maintaining safety for guests and operators. If you have questions about how to respond, click here. But one of the major steps to take during an incident like this is keeping record of how you responded to the incident. Take note of your disinfection levels during the disinfection period, how you removed the material, and what you did after the disinfection period has ended. 


Illness Response Report

It is crucial to take note when someone has become ill in your aquatics area. In many cases, these illnesses can spread quickly so it is crucial to make note of when you discovered the illness and how you responded to the situation. Be absolutely sure to follow CDC standards when interacting with body fluid spills. 


Repair Logs

Whenever you fix something in your pump room, make a note of it. This allows other operators to have a history of what has been fixed, repaired, and maintained in your pump room. Making sure that everyone on the maintenance team is on the same page is very important to keeping a safe and continually operating pool and hot tub. 


Again these are only a few of the logs to maintain. Be sure to consult your local health code and the Model Aquatic Health Code for a more complete understanding of all the documentation needed to keep. 


How Do I Record My Pool And Hot Tub Documents? 

There are a few methods for keeping your documentation at your property:

  • Pen and Paper
  • Spreadsheets
  • Digital Apps

Let's explore the positives and negatives for each of these recording methods. 


Pen And Paper

Using the traditional pen and paper is well...traditional. It is the tried and true way of making sure everyone knows that you've done what you've done. The only downfall is that it can create barriers between you and the creation of the documentation in that it can be cumbersome to pull out the clipboard and find a pen every few hours. 



Spreadsheets can be a great way of keeping documentation at your property. It allows for a more streamlined method of keeping your paperwork. The only problem is that the creation of a spreadsheet can be difficult to create. 


Digital Apps

The best option in this writer's opinion is the use of a paid digital app to take your records on. This option allows the spreadsheet creation to be handled by a third party. The other benefit of this is that many of these apps do all the calculations of addition. The only downfall to these apps is that sometimes the free versions of these apps are unreliable in their calculations. 


How Do I Learn More About Becoming An Aquatics Professional? 

Keep records is only one of the many challenges pool and spa operators face on a day to day basis. Making sure you know what to do in any given situation is crucial for you as an operator. Thankfully Pool Training Academy offers Certified Pool Operator® Classes year-round and close to you. We offer CPO® classes from the Denver Metro Area to San Antonio, Texas, Los Angeles, CA to Nashville, TN. Please click here to sign up for the class that will ensure you are the best pool and spa operator you can be. 


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