Duty manager hadn’t seen key pool safety document at health club where cleaner died in pool, inquest hears

Bannatyne Maida Vale health club in Greville Road, Kilburn. Picture: Harry Taylor

Bannatyne Maida Vale health club in Greville Road, Kilburn. Picture: Harry Taylor - Credit: Archant

The duty manager on shift at Kilburn’s Bannatyne health club on the day of Kamal Al-Hirsi’s death last year had never seen the club’s pool safety document, an inquest has heard.

Under questioning from Bannatyne solicitor Mark Owen, Omer Dinc said he had never seen the 12-page Bannatyne Maida Vale “pool safety operating procedure” document, which was shown to the court.

The jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court also heard that CCTV which monitors the pool was situated behind receptionists in reception, that the panic buttons weren’t pressed during the incident, and the staff radios weren’t working on the day.

Mr Dinc, who was the duty manager on shift on the day of Kamal’s death, told a jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court that he didn’t think a lifeguard needed to be on duty at the pool, because of its size and depth.

Mr Al-Hirsi, of Hendon Way, died while working as a cleaner in the pool on October 10. He had cleaned the bottom of the pool by swimming to the bottom and using a vacuum-nozzle.

CCTV footage shown to the court showed him swimming two lengths after cleaning the pool, before sinking.

Mr Dinc was the first member of staff who saw him that morning. He told the court: “I was on shift at 5.30am. We always had a chat and I saw how he was doing. There was always a joke about a towel delivery.”

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He told the court Mr Al-Hirsi had complained he was “tired”.

The jury heard Mr Dinc – no longer a duty manager at the club – thought his role was to implement existing health and safety policy rather than shape it if he saw anything wrong. It also included overseeing other members of staff’s health and safety.

Bannatyne’s policy meant there was no obligation for a trained lifeguard to be employed and on duty. Mr Dinc had, as it happened, received lifeguard training elsewhere 13 years previously, but this was not part of his job role and he was elsewhere in the club when Mr Al-Hirsi died.

He said in the two years he had worked at the pool, he’d never needed to use his lifeguard training.

On Tuesday, with four members of Mr Al-Hirsi’s family looking on, Ms Hassell asked if he would have done things differently had he been told to. He replied: “Yes.”

The 12-person jury is set to return a determination on Thursday.