As of April 29 2016, new legislation regarding the safety of swimming pools will come into effect. From that date onwards, every pool owner in New South Wales will need to comply with strict regulations to ensure their swimming pool is not a danger to young children and other members of the community that could potentially be at risk.
New Laws Designed to Increase Compliance and Save LivesAlthough many people have been exposed to the various public safety campaigns and are well aware of the drowning dangers that unfenced and unsecured pools can pose, many swimming pools still exist that do not comply and there are property owners who have chosen to either ignore or defy the current guidelines.
It is estimated that there are over 300,000 pools across NSW alone and many of them do not comply with the current guidelines. Therefore, legislators have given greater powers to the local council to issue fines and penalties to those pool owners who do not take proper measures to ensure their pools meet exacting safety standards. The costs of infringements begin at $550 and can be as high as $5,500 for owners who refuse to comply with the new legislation after their pools have been identified as non-compliant.
A Straight Forward ProcessThankfully, in majority of the cases, bringing one’s pool into compliance with the new legislation need not be prohibitive or costly. Many pool companies have followed the recommended guidelines upon initial installation and have included high fences with narrow bars or palings, self-closing and locking gates and placement of latches that are too high for small children to reach.
Most people have the sense and willingness to address and correct recognised dangers rather than put innocent lives at risk of injury or death. But for many pool owners there are some areas of compliance that may not be as well-known or obvious until an expert has thoroughly scrutinised the pool and its surroundings with an informed and critical eye.
An Eye for DetailFor example, the new legislation includes recommended minimum heights for any windows from the house that may look onto the pool area.Such windows may only open 100 millimetres to ensure that access routes that bypass the fences and gates are blocked.
Fences are required to have gaps beneath them of no greater than 100 millimetres and there should be no way for objects such as barbeques, outdoor furniture, steps, ladders or trees to be accessed in order to climb inside the pool area. There also needs to be clear resuscitation signs and a first aid kit on site.
Engaging an Accredited Inspection ServiceThese regulations and a number of others must be followed in order for the pool to be deemed safety compliant and issued an appropriate certificate. A Swimming Pool Registration Sydney residents can depend upon is easily arranged by consulting with accredited inspectors that are specially trained and are able to properly assess such compliance. Local councils have made it clear that they will actively seek to ensure that all pools within the state of New South Wales are registered on a public database and have current certificates of compliance.
These new laws will allow swimming pool owners to feel secure in the knowledge that young children are protected from serious harm or death and bringing one’s property into compliance is a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides in return.