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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 


Statement of Basis and Purpose

Background

Repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding can be deadly. During these activities the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body can drop, delaying the breathing reflex. Coupled with the lack of oxygen to the brain, a swimmer can lose consciousness and drown. This risk is heightened when breath-holding is coupled with intentional hyperventilation caused by repeatedly taking deep breaths, or when done as a competitive activity.

 

The Department has identified four drowning incidents in New York City and 12 other incidents in New York State between 1988 and 2011 that were confirmed or suspected to have been caused by a loss of consciousness underwater due to lack of oxygen caused by intentional hyperventilation or by competitive, repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding. Four of the sixteen swimmers involved died in incidents associated with intentional hyperventilation. Yet, many swimmers are unaware of the risks associated with these activities.[1]

 

The Department has also studied relevant policies, practices and guidance of multiple jurisdictions and organizations with respect to these specific swimming behaviors. Several jurisdictions require pool operators to post signs regarding the risks associated with prolonged breath-holding activities and extended underwater swimming. These signage requirements can be found in the rules of local governmental jurisdictions that regulate pool facilities and in the policies of large governmental entities and non-governmental organizations that own and operate pool facilities. Additionally, governmental agencies and safety awareness organizations have developed guidance and educational materials that promote swimming behavior rules and signage requirements to reduce the risks associated with these activities.

 

Article 165 of the New York City Health Code regulates bathing establishments, including swimming pools, spa pools and spray grounds. Health Code §165.41(u)(2)(K) was added by the Board of Health on September 10, 2013, and authorizes the Department to design and mandate posting of a pictogram that informs swimmers of the dangers of underwater breath-holding behaviors—taking deep breaths, one after the other, before swimming underwater—and of breath-holding contests, to warn and prevent swimmers from engaging in these deadly swimming activities.

 

Changes Being Made

 

            The Department is amending Chapter 1 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York to require pool operators to post signs warning of the dangers of prolonged underwater breath-holding behaviors. Chapter 1 currently only requires signage about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy in food service establishments. The Department has amended the Chapter so that its provisions now apply to various signs required by the Department in various settings. The requirement for a sign warning of use of alcohol in pregnancy is in section 1-01 of the Chapter, and the requirements for the new underwater breathing sign are in section 1-02 of the Chapter.  The Department has made minor changes in section 1-01 of the Chapter regarding alcohol use warning signs to make the section more consistent and readable, though the substantive requirements will remain unchanged from the former Chapter 1.

 

Pool operators are required to post signs with the specific design and warning text indicated in the proposed rule. 

 

Statutory Authority

 

 New York City Charter (“Charter”) §§ 556 and 1043 authorize these amendments.  Pursuant to § 556 of the Charter, the Department has jurisdiction to regulate all matters affecting health in the City of New York. Section1043 of the Charter gives the Department rulemaking powers. Section 165.41(u)(2)(K) of the New York City Health Code authorizes rulemaking related to posting warning signs at pools of the dangers of repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding.




[1] C. Boyd, et al., Fatal and nonfatal drowning outcomes related to dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors – New York State, 1988-2011, CDC MMWR, May 22, 2015, 64, 19, 518-521.

 

 

Effective Date: 
Mon, 02/15/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose

Background

Repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding can be deadly. During these activities the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body can drop, delaying the breathing reflex. Coupled with the lack of oxygen to the brain, a swimmer can lose consciousness and drown. This risk is heightened when breath-holding is coupled with intentional hyperventilation caused by repeatedly taking deep breaths, or when done as a competitive activity.

 

The Department has identified four drowning incidents in New York City and 12 other incidents in New York State between 1988 and 2011 that were confirmed or suspected to have been caused by a loss of consciousness underwater due to lack of oxygen caused by intentional hyperventilation or by competitive, repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding. Four of the sixteen swimmers involved died in incidents associated with intentional hyperventilation. Yet, many swimmers are unaware of the risks associated with these activities.[1]

 The Department has also studied relevant policies, practices and guidance of multiple jurisdictions and organizations with respect to these specific swimming behaviors. Several jurisdictions require pool operators to post signs regarding the risks associated with prolonged breath-holding activities and extended underwater swimming. These signage requirements can be found in the rules of local governmental jurisdictions that regulate pool facilities and in the policies of large governmental entities and non-governmental organizations that own and operate pool facilities. Additionally, governmental agencies and safety awareness organizations have developed guidance and educational materials that promote swimming behavior rules and signage requirements to reduce the risks associated with these activities.

 Article 165 of the New York City Health Code regulates bathing establishments, including swimming pools, spa pools and spray grounds. Health Code §165.41(u)(2)(K) was added by the Board of Health on September 10, 2013, and authorizes the Department to design and mandate posting of a pictogram that informs swimmers of the dangers of underwater breath-holding behaviors—taking deep breaths, one after the other, before swimming underwater—and of breath-holding contests, to warn and prevent swimmers from engaging in these deadly swimming activities.

 Proposed Changes

             The Department is proposing to amend Chapter 1 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York to require pool operators to post signs warning of the dangers of prolonged underwater breath-holding behaviors. Chapter 1 currently only requires signage about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy in food service establishments. The Department is proposing to reorganize this Chapter so that its provisions will apply to various signs required by the Department in various settings. The requirement for a sign warning of use of alcohol in pregnancy is proposed in section 1-01 of the Chapter, and the requirements for the new underwater breathing sign are proposed in section 1-02 of the Chapter.  The Department is proposing minor changes in section 1-01 of the Chapter regarding alcohol use warning signs to make the section more consistent and readable, though the substantive requirements will remain unchanged from the current Chapter 1.

 Pool operators will be required to post signs with the specific design and warning text indicated in the proposed rule. 

 Statutory Authority

 New York City Charter (“Charter”) §§ 556 and 1043 authorize these amendments.  Pursuant to § 556 of the Charter, the Department has jurisdiction to regulate all matters affecting health in the City of New York. Section1043 of the Charter gives the Department rulemaking powers. Section 165.41(u)(2)(K) of the New York City Health Code authorizes rulemaking related to posting warning signs at pools of the dangers of repetitive or prolonged underwater swimming or breath-holding.

 


[1] C. Boyd, et al., Fatal and nonfatal drowning outcomes related to dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors – New York State, 1988-2011, CDC MMWR, May 22, 2015, 64, 19, 518-521.

 

Subject: 

Proposed resolution to amend Chapter 1 (Posting Regulations for Vendors of Alcoholic Beverages) of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York to require signage at swimming pools that indicates competitive breath holding is prohibited and warns swimmers of the risks involved.

Location: 
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Gotham Center
42-09 28th Street 14th Floor, Room 14-31 Queens
New York, NY 11101-4132
Contact: 

Svetlana Burdeynik at resolutioncomments@health.nyc.gov

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:2)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

Statutory Authority

Amendment of Chapter 21 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York is authorized by sections 389(b) and 1043(a) of the Charter.  Charter §389(b) provides that “heads of mayoral agencies shall have the power to adopt rules to carry out the powers and duties delegated to the agency head or the agency by or pursuant to federal, state or local law.” Charter §1043(a) authorizes each agency to “adopt rules necessary to carry out the powers and duties delegated to it by or pursuant to federal, state or local law.”  These rules are also authorized by Local Law 93 for the year 2013, enacted November 9, 2013, which added §17-1504 to the Administrative Code of the City of New York, authorizing the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the Department) to provide voluntary consultative inspections to restaurants and establish fees for these inspections.

 

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the Department) is proposing to amend Chapter 21 (Health Academy Courses and Fees) of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York, as follows:

  • ·        Repeal §21-03, Swimming pool technology course and fee;
  • ·        Add a new §21-07, Food service establishment consultative inspections and fees; and
  • ·        Amend the title of the chapter and §21-01, Scope and applicability.

 

Repeal §21-03 -- Swimming pool technology course and fee

This section currently describes a Health Academy course that is no longer being offered, and should be repealed. Before it was amended by the Board of Health by resolution adopted September 21, 2011, New York City Health Code (Health Code) §165.15(b)(1) required swimming pool operators to take a Department swimming pool technology course at the Department’s Health Academy. As amended, the Health Code currently requires that pool operators hold a “certificate indicating successful completion of an adequate course of instruction regarding the safe and effective operation and maintenance of pool treatment equipment . . . ,” but does not require that such courses be offered by the Department.

Add a new §2-07 – Food service establishment consultative inspections and fees    

              The Department is proposing to offer voluntary consultative inspections, with no risk of receiving notices of violation subject to monetary penalties, to food service establishments in the restaurant inspection program established by Health Code §81.51 and Chapter 23 of these rules. The consultative inspections would provide additional food safety training and education and would be available at the request of a food service establishment permittee, or applicant for a new permit, subject to Department resources.  The consultative inspection would be conducted by a Department staff member with extensive knowledge of New York City’s food safety regulations and include an on-site assessment of the establishment’s food handling and preparation practices as well as its facilities, sanitation and food storage.  For operating establishments, the Department would also review recent inspection histories.

Administrative Code §17-1504, enacted by Local Law 93 for the year 2013, authorizes the Department to offer these consultative inspections and establish a fee for them. The Department proposes to charge a $400 fee for existing restaurants and a $100 fee for restaurants that register for a consultative inspection before receiving their permit. These fees, which would partially offset the costs of providing this service, have been approved by the City’s Office of Management and Budget.

These consultative inspections would be entirely voluntary.  To maximize the benefits of the consultation, the Department may require that the owner, operator or manager accompany Department staff during the on-site inspection. Findings would not be graded, and would only be scored if requested by the operator for informational purposes. Findings would not be used to determine the date of the next inspection or the length of the inspection cycle; and would not influence subsequent inspection findings.  No notice of violation or grade card would be issued. The results are intended to inform the establishment’s operator of practices and conditions that violate applicable food safety laws and regulations and provide recommendations for improving operations affecting food safety.  If the Department observes a condition that constitutes an imminent or public health hazard during the on-site consultative inspection the permittee would be required to correct the condition immediately, and the Department may close the establishment on a temporary, emergency basis to protect the public health, until the condition is corrected.

Amend the Chapter title and §21-01 Scope and applicability

            Since the new §21-07 will not involve a course offered at the Health Academy, but only describes a consultative inspection and fees to be charged by the Department, the Chapter title and §21-01 are also being amended.

Subject: 

Proposed resolution to amend Chapter 21 (Health Academy Courses and Fees) of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York, delete reference to a swimming pool technology course and fee, add a new provision to implement a food service establishment consultative inspection program and establish fees, and amend the Chapter title.

Location: 
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Gotham Center
42-09 28th Street 12th Floor, Room 12-22
Queens, NY 11101
Contact: 

Roslyn Windholz at (347) 396-6078/6116

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf):