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Firms offering cold water immersion will not have to tighten rules following woman's death in Whaley Bridge

Companies offering cold water immersion therapy will not have to tighten their rules after a woman died following a session in Whaley Bridge.

Derbyshire senior coroner Peter Nieto asked for health and safety chiefs to look into the health fad in September last year, following an inquest into the death of 39-year-old Kellie Poole.

She died on April 25, 2022 on the banks of the River Goyt near Whaley Bridge.

Ms Poole had collapsed in the river during a cold water immersion session.

The inquest heard: "It is likely that the cold water triggered her heart to go out of rhythm which led to her sudden cardiac death."

A post-mortem examination revealed Ms Poole had an abnormal heart, although she had never been diagnosed or suspected of having a heart condition.

The inquest concluded: "It is likely the heart condition prevented recovery from the heart dysrhythmia."

Mr Nieto ordered a prevention of future deaths report although he emphasised the matters of concern did not specifically relate to Ms Poole's death.

He said: "It appears that there is increasing public interest and participation in cold water immersion.

"Businesses have been established which offer led cold water immersion sessions and may offer other types of led activities such as breath work often in combination with the cold water immersion.

"It is recognised that some people may experience an adverse physiological reaction to cold water immersion, which has the potential to be life-threatening.

"There seems to be very little oversight of these businesses in their provision of cold water immersion covering matters such as pre-session health advice or warnings, public liability insurance, training and experience of the session leader, first aid training and equipment or written risk assessments. I am not aware of the issuing of specific health and safety guidance."

The coroner said some sessions take place in water tanks while others are carried out on rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

He also said there was no established governing body for the practice which sees people dunked into cold water to "improve the natural recovery process of the human body".

However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) did not believe more regulation was needed.

In its response to the coroner's concerns, the HSE said people offering cold water immersion were already required to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and other safety regulations.

It also added that it believe the dangers of cold water immersion would be known by people offering the treatment.

A statement said that the "regulatory provisions in place together with the guidance available on the main risks involved" were sufficient.

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