Each year, the Royal Life Saving compiles a national report on drownings. This document examines the factors responsible for drowning deaths in Australia by looking at where, who, when, and how people have drowned in the previous year. Pool safety is one of the closely watched factors and legislation has been put in place to address this. As a Queensland pool owner, you are required as a matter of policy to have your pool inspected for compliance.
Owners of premises where swimming pools are situated are required by law to register their pools online as well as self-assess and make a formal statement that to the best of their knowledge, their pool barriers are in compliance with the applicable standard.
The pool inspection requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as spas that are installed or situated on premises on which a moveable dwelling or a residential building is located.
It’s the responsibility of the Queensland pool owner to see to it that their pool complies with the safety standard. Even in cases where the pool has neighbouring properties that are not in compliance with the pool safety standard, the law still requires the pool owner to do their bit to ensure their pool barrier is up to standard. The following are some of the compliance areas you need to keenly look at as the pool owner.
According to the law, the minimum height for a pool fence should be 120cm measured from the ground level upwards. Also, the allowable distance between vertical members such as rods, wire or palings must not exceed 10cm.
Gates, on the other hand, must not open towards the swimming pool area. As a Queensland pool owner, you must ensure that your gate latch releases are located at least 150 cm above the ground or shielded as per the pool safety standard. In addition to this, your pool gates and doors must be closed at all times when not in use.
There is a requirement to provide a non-climbable zone around the swimming pool barrier. This zone is necessary to prevent children from using climbable objects or any other means to climb the pool barrier. The safety standard requires that a 90cm non-climbable zone be put in place around the entire length of the pool barrier. If your pool fence is also a dividing fence and is less than 180cm in height, the non-climbable zone should be located on the outside.
The non-climbable zone provision also takes into consideration outdoor furniture, climbable trees, projections, retaining walls, and indentations among other objects that may provide a horizontal surface that can be used by young children to gain a handhold or a foot as they attempt to climb the barrier.
If you are a Queensland pool owner, the pool safety standard to which you are to comply with, doesn’t permit self-latching and self-closing child resistant doors to be used as a pool barrier in cases where such doors give direct access into a pool area. In the event you were granted an exemption by your local government, such exemptions have officially come to an end in November 2015.
According to the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, child resistant doors were found to pose a serious threat to child safety. These doors have to be upgraded by installing a separate fence between the pool and the building. The only circumstance where compliance may be impractical is when a part of the building may have to be demolished if the barrier is to be erected. This has to be verified by the responsible local government department before an exemption is granted.
The pool safety standard requires every Queensland pool owner to clearly and visibly display near the pool a CPR sign which can be seen within the pool area. This sign must also satisfy the Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines which require that it measures at least 30cm by 30cm in size and made out of a weatherproof and durable material. The sign must be directive and illustrative enough to inform the public or the pool users what to do in case of an emergency.
If your pool doesn’t comply with the law, you may be fined by your local government. In order to avoid this, you should get advisory support from our pool safety inspectors who will do a formal and thorough inspection and help you get a pool certificate of compliance. Use our pool fence safety checklist for a more detailed list of requirements.
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