Home Pool Inspection team helps to maintain backyard safety

25 April 2022

Regular inspection of home pool and spa barriers is an important safety measure in the prevention of drowning deaths of young children. Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in young children, with an average of 15 children under the age of five fatally drowning in private swimming pools across the nation each year.

Royal Life Saving WA conducts home swimming pool and spa barrier inspections on behalf of several local councils in WA, our team of inspectors helping to identify barrier faults and areas for improvement to ensure pool barriers remain effective in preventing unsupervised access by young children. 

Our team of inspectors includes Sue, who works across the City of Swan, Steve, who conducts inspections for the Town of Cambridge, Llewellyn, who is currently working in the City of Fremantle and the Town of East Fremantle, and Ric and Cathy who cover the City of Wanneroo. We spoke to some of the team about their work ensuring the safety of young children in our community. No two days are the same for our inspectors, who all enjoy getting out and about within the community.

“My favourite part of the role is getting to meet people’s pets,” Cathy says. "The variety of pets has astounded me." She’s also had some interesting moments during her work as an inspector, including when an owner told her no one would be home and to let herself in via the side gate at 10am. “Once in his back yard, I realised he was playing a practical joke on his wife who has always chosen that time for her sunbaking!”

Llewelyn says he enjoys working outdoors and, like Cathy, loves meeting people’s pets. “Honestly, my favourite part is getting to meet lots of dogs. I often see very old or antique cars and machinery as garden art, particularly in the semi-rural areas like Bullsbrook and Casuarina.” While it can be fun and interesting to see different properties as part of the job, Llew understands the significance of his work. 

“It’s important to make sure that necessary maintenance is done, that non-compliant changes are made, and to remind people that the barrier serves an important function,” Llew says. “Most people are aware of and compliant with the basic requirements. Some of the rules can be a bit confusing, particularly when some requirements are very different for pools built in different years.”

In many cases where a pool barrier fails an inspection it is the gate that is found to be faulty, however another common fault that occurs is the placement of climbable objects and structures too close to the pool or spa barrier. “Pool fences and outdoor kitchens don’t mix well," says Llew. "Best to put the BBQ somewhere else and take special care your countertop isn’t accidentally a stairway to heaven.

“While the chances of an incident happening due to non-compliance may be small, the potential impact of a drowning is utterly and tragically life changing for everybody involved. I think it’s important that we do what we can to protect young children.”

You can learn more about the common issues that our pool inspectors find, as well as a copy of our Home Pool Safety Checklist at the link below:

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To ensure that your Home Pool Barrier will be deemed compliant on the first inspection, please follow the guidance contained in the Rules for Pools and Spas publication. This comprehensive guide is free to download and provides you with all the guidance and advice needed to get your barrier ready for assessment.

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