Backyard swimming pools are very popular in Berrigan Shire but their presence raise a number of health and safety risks. For this reason swimming pool owners need to ensure that appropriate fencing, gates, locks and signs are maintained in the pool area, and that relevant requirements under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 are met.
Changes to the Swimming Pools Act affecting owners of pre-established pools
Changes to the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 requires that all pools must be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register via www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au Follow the easy registration steps. Swimming pool registration is free.
In addition, from 29th April 2016, all properties with a swimming pool must have a certificate of compliance before the property can be sold or leased.
There may be a penalty applied to owners who have failed to register a swimming pool by 29th October 2016 (penalty notice amount of $220).
Inspections required of new swimming pools
When a pool or spa is being constructed or altered, a principal certifying authority (PCA) must supervise all works. Berrigan Shire building surveyors are qualified to act as the principal certifying authority, and are responsible for ensuring that new and altered swimming pools and spas comply with relevant Development Consents and Complying Development Certificates. The building surveyor must ensure that all necessary requirements are met before issuing an Occupation Certificate, under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Some Important Points to Remember
- Ensure that the pool's fence and gate is well maintained.
- Make sure the gate is closed at all times and never prop it open.
- Keep objects away from the pool area, so that children cannot use them to reach the gate latch or climb the fence.
- Have knowledge and be confident with resuscitation techniques. You must have a comprehensive resuscitation chart displayed near the pool area for reference, and obtain a first aid certificate through the local St. John's Ambulance or Red Cross Society.
- Establish safety rules for the pool area, and strictly enforce them, (such as no running around the pool, no pushing into the water etc.) Ensure that toys or other objects are not left floating in the pool. They are very attractive to small children.
- Have a non-slip surface around the pool.
- If you are overheated, overtired, have been drinking alcohol, or have just finished a meal, don't go swimming.
- Always remain alert when children are near the pool. It only takes a few seconds for a child to drown so never take your eye off them.
- Have children taught water confidence at an early age.
- Always keep extension leads or plugs off damp ground and away from the water.
Further advice can be sought from the following agencies and organisations:
What is the law?
Swimming Pools Act 1992
Swimming Pools Regulation 2008
Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012
Australian Resuscitation Council
Basic Life Support Flow Chart
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Guideline
Fact Sheet 1 - NSW Swimming Pool Registration
Fact Sheet 2 - Supervision
Fact Sheet 3 - Restrict Access
Fact Sheet 4 - Water Awareness
Fact Sheet 5 - Resuscitate
Public Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Advisory Document
The "Public Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Advisory Document" both complements and gives an overview of the public health legislation related to public pools and spas. The advisory document explains the diseases which can be transmitted in a pool environment and provides a bacteriological criterion to determine pool safety.
Following on is an explanation of the use of chlorine or bromine dosing levels and monitoring to achieve effective disinfection and good water quality. Also, design, construction and amenities are considered so that pool management is enhanced. A risk management approach is explained to manage pools, particularly to control Crytosporidium outbreaks which are resistant to disinfection. The advisory document is intended for all pool operators, designers and consultants. The document can be accessed here: Public Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Advisory Document
Kids can drown without a sound! brochure (pdf)