Monday, May 2, 2011

National Plan To Make Swimming Requirements

From fencing to having the right pool pump, there are quite a few requirements to having a pool. We all know that there are certain requirements to having a swimming pool in your home, and those laws will get a shake-up this year. Qld has been at the forefront with the introduction of mandatory pool registrations, that as actually been slowed down by recent flooding and other disasters, but more than that, expect new national laws to simplify the way pools and ownership is managed across the country this year.

Fencing

  • Another Child. As a precursor to the meeting in February, another child drowned in a small inflatable swimming pool in Wagga Wagga, and just goes to show, even in a little water, a child can still drown.
  • New Agreement. All state and territory ministers agreed on the need for a common set of laws for all pools in the country. Swimming pool legislation requiring fencing was only introduced around 20 years ago in this country, and this is the next big and positive step. It is quite surprising to think that these laws were only introduced since 1991, and many of the new laws will still only influence pools built after that date. Fencing resulted in a drastic fall in backyard drownings.
  • No Improvement. Despite a drastic improvement in the child and toddler drowning numbers since the introduction of fencing requirements, there still have been no other improvements in the statistics. Over 50% of child drownings still occur in backyard swimming pools.
  • Current Situation. With a huge range and very different laws in states and territories, there is a large amount of confusion in industry and amongst pool owners themselves. Laws are one thing, but if they are misunderstood, and there is a death due to that, they are ineffective. There is no bringing someone back.
  • Current Research. While Australians are very concerned with getting their pool cleaner, research indicates that many Australian pools do not fit all of the safety requirements of their states. The number is said to be around 80% – extremely high and very alarming.
  • Simplification & Co-ordination. The new laws are to simplify the requirements for existing swimming pools. Understand that does not mean it will be easier to make a pool fit inside the regulations, what it means is that the regulations themselves will be simplified, reducing categories and making all state and territory requirements the same. This will mean that a coordinated approach by all the states and territories is required – the goal agreed at recent meetings in February of 2011. Each state has been improving their laws, but now it is the first time we will see a coordinated approach.
  • Laws To Target Drownings. Drowning of toddlers is still the biggest factor in driving the law changes. Doors and walls were once considered a barrier to a swimming pool, but it is those pools where we still see the highest number of problems. Expect changes like those introduced in some states, where fence must still be installed, and a wall and a door will become excluded in terms of being considered pool safety.

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