Summer is well and truly underway. If you are a pool or spa owner or looking to install either in the near future, you must ensure that all safety standards are being met and Australian pool safety laws are being followed.
Victoria is the most recent state to undertake safety reforms, which came into effect 1 December 2019. The reforms now require homeowners with pools or spas to have adequate barriers and have them registered with their local council and arrange periodic inspections and certification.
The facts and figures
Figures published by Royal Life Saving Society - Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia showed that 276 people drowned across Australia from July 2018 to June 2019, representing a 10% increase on the previous year. Of these recorded deaths 31 were in swimming pools around the nation.
The best way to ensure drowning figures decrease is to ensure that all pools and spas are safely contained and to legal requirements. Here is a recap of what you need to know to maintain your pool to comply with pool safety law standards.
Pool safety laws in Australia
By law, your pool or spa must be registered with the council relevant to your area.
If a pool or spa has a depth of 30cm or more (300mm), it is required to be surrounded by a safety barrier. This includes inflatable pools.
All pools must be fully enclosed by a barrier that is at least 1200mm in height, barriers can include fencing or walls.
The bottom of the pool fence and gate must be no more than 100mm off the ground.
If the horizontal rails are 900mm or more apart the verticals cannot exceed 100mm apart.
If the horizontals are less than 900mm apart the verticals must be no more than 10mm wide.
The gate must open away from the pool and never be propped open.
The gate must be self-closing from any position and self-latching.
The gate latch must be located at least 1500mm above the ground and at least 1400mm above the top part of the horizontal railings. Or the gate latch must be located on the inside of the fence.
All climbable objects must be at least 900mm away from the fence on the outside.
All non-climbable objects must not be within 300mm of the pool fence on the inside.
You must display a CPR sign prominently in the pool area (it should be legible from at least 3m away).
You cannot have a door access to the pool from the house. Any windows around the pool must not open more than 100mm (except in Victoria which must not open more than 125mm) or must have screens and or locks.
Before selling, leasing or renting a property with a pool, you must obtain a pool safety certificate.
Fines for pool safety law non-compliance
In NSW fines for pool safety law non-compliance carries a maximum of $5,500. On-the-spot fines of $550 can also be applied.
In QLD you will cop a $235.60 on the spot fine to a maximum court penalty of $2,356 for non-compliance. As of 1 July 2019, all Queensland pools must meet the safety standard. If your pool does not comply with fencing law, you will be charged $133.45.
Owners and occupiers in WA breaking pool safety laws face a maximum penalty of $5,000 for non-compliance.
Pool safety law non-compliance will see you receiving a $1,652.20 fine in Victoria.