An improvement in WA pool barrier inspections

31 October 2019

A report from the WA Building Commissioner has found that WA Local Governments are making improvements in the timely inspection of home pool safety barriers in our state. The barriers of more than 47,000 private properties were inspected during 2018-19, with 2,545 inspections overdue by June 30th compared to 3,632 overdue at the same time last year.

WA local governments are required to inspect the safety barriers of private pools in their districts at least every four years to ensure they are compliant and continue to be effective in restricting access by young children. It’s pleasing to see Local governments continue to take action to address the number of overdue inspections of private pool safety barriers, but there is still room for improvement.
Building and Energy has been monitoring local government progress with these checks after a WA Ombudsman’s report found that 8,639 private swimming pools in the State were overdue for barrier inspections in mid-2015.

Building and Energy Acting Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said all private swimming pools, including spa pools, with water more than 30cm deep must have a safety barrier that complies with the law and restricts the access of young children. “While there’s no substitute for close supervision, there is also no doubt that compliant safety barriers help prevent young children from drowning in swimming pools,” he said. “Non-compliant barriers are known to have contributed to the drowning deaths of young children, which is why regular inspections are so important.”

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children. Royal Life Saving Australia data shows that, on average each year, 15 children underthe age of five drown in private swimming pools across the nation. The number of non-fatal drownings is significantly higher and can also have long-term impacts on children and their families.

“Owners and occupants of properties with pools must remain vigilant and ensure they comply with all safety measures, which includes allowing access to local government inspectors when required,” Mr Abdoolakhan said. “If you have concerns about whether your barrier complies with the rules, contact your local government in the first instance.”

You can download the Royal Life Saving Home Pool Safety Checklist to check if your barrier meets all requirements at the link below.

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