Coroner gives Bannatyne 10 areas of concern in report after death of cleaner in pool

Kamal Al-Hirsi

Kamal Al-Hirsi - Credit: The Al-Hirsi family

The senior coroner for inner north London has issued a prevention of future deaths report after a jury found safety and emergency procedures at Bannatyne Health Club in Maida Vale were “inadequate”.

Mary Hassell has said she believes there is “a risk future deaths will occur unless action is taken.”

The reports are published to raise concern and awareness across the whole industry about risks that could cause deaths in the future.

In the report she says she is concerned by; Kamal Al-Hirsi cleaning the bottom of the swimming pool at the gym in Greville Road by holding his breath and using a suction hose, the person who was helping Mr Al-Hirsi clean the pool was a non-swimmer, members of staff not having water safety awareness or pool lifesaving training, deficiencies in the panic button system, a lack of awareness of the defibrillator’s location and function, and a poor location of the CCTV camera.

Ms Hassell also criticised flaws in the health club’s procedures for how to help a swimmer in difficulty.

At the inquest last Thursday, a 12-person jury ruled the 56-year-old died of heart arrhythmia linked to alcohol and cocaine use.

He died on October 10 last year, after he sank to the bottom of the pool at the end of a cleaning shift at the health club’s Maida Vale branch.

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According to the report, since Mr Al-Hirsi’s death the practices are unchanged.

A pathologist, Dr Alan Bates, told the hearing Mr Al-Hirsi could have been revived if he had been noticed at the bottom of the pool earlier.

When he was hauled out by a gym member, he had been under the water for five minutes.

According to law, Bannatyne has 56 days to respond to Ms Hassell’s report.

Bannatyne’s health clubs were founded in 1997 by businessman Duncan Bannatyne.

A spokesperson for Bannatyne said in a statement: “The inquest jury considered all the facts surrounding Kamal’s sad death and concluded it was due to cardiac arrhythmia with alcohol and cocaine consumption probably responsible.

“We have received a copy of the Coroner’s report and will take time to thoroughly review this before responding to the Coroner.”

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