Pool safety laws: Countdown on for Queenslanders to have pools in check as deadline looms

Pool inspectors throughout Queensland have been run off their feet as the deadline to comply with the pool safety laws approaches.

The new standard was introduced in 2010 with householders given a five year grace period to have pools up to standard.

Pools must meet State Government safety standards by November 30, or face penalties.

The State Government plans to crackdown after December 1 on pool fencing and safety, with the possibility of random checks in suburbs throughout the state.

The pool safety laws apply to all pools from those at homes, motels, hotels and backpacker hostels.

Brisbane pool inspector Sam Walker said people were rushing to meet the looming deadline.

"We were always busy, but over the last month or two it has become incredibly busy," he said.

"Time is running out."

Mr Walker said some properties he recently inspected fell behind the required standard.

"Many fail due to chain wire fences and horizontal rails that are less 900mm apart and other small things can easily cause risk," he said.

"These fencing issues create risks with children being able to climb them."

If a household does not meet the key safety requirements, residents could be slapped with on-the-spot fines of up to $796.95 and further penalties up to $18,785.25 can be imposed on pool owners.

Mr Walker said the State Government could roll out spot tests after the November 30 deadline.

"[The government] has not specified how often yet, it is up to the pool owners if they risk the safety but they could be often," he said.

"I hope the government carries out more inspections, I have two young children and one of the worse possible things is a child drowning and it's preventable.

"Many of the rules are very strict but they are here to save lives."

All pools (and spas) in Queensland must be fenced and registered on the pool safety register.

The pool safety register includes a record of pools in Queensland, pool safety certificates issued and a list of all licensed pool safety inspectors.

Failure to register could result in fines of up $2,356.

What to check

One of the key law changes includes the phasing out of child resistant doors used as pool barriers for existing pools.

The key changes are:

replacing 11 different pool safety standards with one pool safety standard for all pools
wider application of pool safety laws to include pools and pools associated with hotels, motels, hostels and home stays
a phase out of child-resistant doors used as pool barriers for existing pools
a requirement for the latest prescribed CPR sign adopted by the Australian Resuscitation Council to be displayed near each pool
fencing of all portable pools and spas capable of being filled with 300 millimetres or more of water
mandatory inspections by local governments for immersion incidents of children under five in swimming pools

Mr Walker said inspectors looked at how well the gates open and close, if CPR signs are in place and how neighbouring properties fences hold up.

"If a boundary fence is part of a pool fence, we have to look at the outside so that can affect homeowners in a big way," he said.

"We hope that neighbours get along well and then we can normal address things fairly easily."

Selling or buying a house

Mr Walker said home buyers should also be alert to pool regulations if buying or selling a house.

"As a home owner I advise that people get a test done when they are selling a house, however legally you don't have too," he said.

"A real estate agent will hand a form 36 which tells buyers that there isn't one in place and that they have 90 days to get one."

A full list of pool safety requirements can be found at the Queensland Government's Department of Housing and Public Works.

Source: ABC News

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