It's time to check pool and spa barriers

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The warmer weather is a reminder to all swimming pool and spa owners to ensure their safety barriers are secure.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under five years of age and evidence suggests a large number of drowning deaths result from safety barriers that are faulty or do not comply with Australian standards.

City of Greater Bendigo Municipal Building Surveyor, Hans Tracksdorf, said now is the time to conduct a life-saving safety check to ensure pools and spas have appropriate fencing.

“Any pool or spa that holds more than 300mm of water, including do-it-yourself above ground pools, must be enclosed by a childproof safety barrier with a height of 1.2m or greater and be regularly maintained. Inflatable pools in particular are of a great concern, as these pools often hold more than 300mm of water but are not usually enclosed by a physical barrier,” Mr Tracksdorf said.

“City staff are often alerted by concerned neighbours to backyard pools that are unfenced. Follow up details can be confirmed through an aerial photo database. Staff can then issue fines of up to $6,000 to property owners who do not have a lawful barrier.”

Common issues that affect swimming pool and spa safety barriers include:

  • Gates and doors that are not self-closing - If a safety barrier’s gate is no longer self-closing, it is not compliant with Australian Standards. This may also be the case with doors that lead from a house into a pool that were installed prior to 2010
  • Gates and doors that are no longer self-latching - Wear and tear of a locking mechanism can affect a door or gate’s ability to self-latch when closed
  • Gates propped open - Gates can be propped open if people are going in and out of the pool or spa area, so can allow unsupervised children access to the water
  • Ground movement - Ground movement can cause a safety barrier or gate to shift or separate and no longer work properly
  • Objects to climb on - Make sure there are no climbable objects, such as barbeques or planter boxes, bordering your pool fence or that of neighbouring properties that would enable children to gain access to a pool or spa.

Residents installing a pool or spa, either in-ground, above-ground or using an inflatable design, can ensure safety barriers meet the appropriate requirements by phoning 5434 6000.

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