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Shine Lawyers | Pool safety

Injured in a swimming pool incident


A dip in the pool is among the best ways to cool off on a hot Australian afternoon.

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, summer sees family, friends and even neighbours come round for a swim.

If you're having guests over to your pool, or you yourself are the guest, here’s the legal considerations to be aware of.

What the facts and figures say about water safety

In the 2019/2020 financial year, 28 people fatally drowned in Australian swimming pools according to Royal Life Saving Australia. This reflects a 28% decrease from the ten-year average.

Besides drowning, swimming pools can be the site of major head and spinal injury, especially when swimmers are jumping into the water. Water can be a danger and we shouldn’t become complacent to the dangers of swimming pool activities.

How can you ensure your safety and that of your loved ones around pools and other water activities this summer?

Pool safety tips

  • Supervision of children at all times
  • Ensure children are at least familiar with water and know water safety – better yet, ensure they know how to swim
  • Don’t be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in and around the water

Pool area maintenance tips to avoid serious swimming pool injuries

  • Is your pool adequately fenced and maintained? As a pool owner the onus is on you to ensure your pool meets all safety standards in the state you live. Find out about pool safety laws in your state.
  • Ensure the area in and around your pool is well-maintained and there are no slip or trip obstacles around.
  • Ensure there are no climbable objects in an around the pool area, particularly near the fence or gate.
  • Make sure the pool filter and suction fittings or grates are securely covered and people can’t fall into them.
  • Keep all chemicals locked up and keep them out of reach to avoid ingestion and or burns.

Public liability and private properties

We all know the dangers that can come from having water around the place, from slips, trips and falls to possible drownings and other accidents. As a property owner, you have a duty of care to keep everyone safe. If you are found to be negligent you could be liable for damages.

Am I covered if something happens to me?

Many people may assume that the public liability cover attached to their home and contents insurance policy will cover them for all circumstances in which someone is injured on their property. However, this may not always be the case.

It is important to ensure that you have made full disclosure to your home and contents insurer about any commercial activity that may take place on your property and specifically seek to understand and confirm that you’re covered for those activities. This would include situations where you rent out your private pool, or host a business event on your property.

When you’re inviting people onto your property to use your pool and charging them a fee, you would owe them a heightened duty of care to ensure their safety compared with the duty owed to a family member or friend who is using the pool during a weekend visit.

If you are planning on renting a private pool for the day, it would be wise to check what insurance the owners have with respect to potential injury or even property damage.

Have you been injured at a pool?

If you have been injured at a pool you may have the right to claim for compensation due to the negligence of the pool owners or operators. Typically, you could make a claim for things like:

  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Home help you have received (paid or unpaid).

Shine Lawyers - Your local legal experts

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury due to someone's negligence, you may have a claim for compensation. One of our Public Liabitly claims experts can assess your case, inform you of all your available options. Get in touch today for more information on how Shine Lawyers can right wrong.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: January 27, 2021.

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