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Standard fact sheet.

Portable swimming pools 

IMPORTANT – New rules for suppliers of portable pools (including inflatable pools) means that both the portable swimming pool and its packaging must display a permanent warning message. See section on Mandatory labelling by suppliers for more information.

This information covers the current safety laws that apply to inflatable swimming pools.

Safety guidelines for suppliers 

There are a number of potential hazards associated with portable swimming pools. These include:

  • the potential for drowning
  • health concerns where the pool water is left unsanitised for lengthy periods
  • electrocution caused by the improper use of portable electrical pumps and filter systems.

From 30 March 2014 all portable swimming pools will be covered by a new mandatory standard called the Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard 2013. Under this standard, portable swimming pools are items intended for personal, domestic or household use and also one of the following:

  • an inflatable swimming pool, of any depth
  • a soft-sided swimming pool, of any depth
  • a rigid-sided swimming pool that is not deeper than 300 mm.

For details on the Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard 2013 visit www.productsafety.gov.au

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Fencing requirements  

Owners are responsible for ensuring that the pools on their premises comply with the law in relation to fencing. Suppliers of swimming pools should alert prospective owners of pools to the fencing requirements that exist in NSW to ensure that potential hazards are minimised.

The Swimming Pools Act 1992 states that a pool which is capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more, must be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier that:

  • separates the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises
  • is designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the standards prescribed by the regulations.

For more information, go to the Pool fencing requirements page on the Fair Trading website.

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Preventing electrical accidents  

Pools and electricity can be a highly dangerous combination. Retailers should inform their customers to take care when using portable electrical pumps and filter systems for swimming pools.

It is an offence under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 for suppliers of swimming pools to sell electrical pumps and filters that are not approved and are not marked with an electrical safety approval number or Regulatory Compliance Mark. Also, it is recommended that suppliers only stock electrical pumps that are suitable for outdoor use.

Suppliers of swimming pools should also advise customers purchasing portable electrical pumps and filters:

  • to fit a safety switch to the house where the pool will be used
  • to arrange for a licensed electrician to install a suitable weather-protected electrical power point close to the pool so that there is no need to use flexible extension cords.

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Liability of suppliers, importers and manufacturers 

Suppliers should be aware that statutory warranties are provided by the Fair Trading Act and the Trade Practices Act. This means that goods should be of 'merchantable quality', ie. they meet the basic level of quality and performance expected for their price and description.

Importers and manufacturers can be held liable for defective goods. The law states that goods have a defect if they are not as safe as people would reasonably expect them to be. To determine how safe goods are, all relevant circumstances should be considered including:

  • the way the goods have been marketed and packaged
  • any instructions for their use (including warnings about what to do or what not to do with them)
  • how the goods might reasonably be used.

Manufacturers can be held liable if a person suffers injury or death as a result of a defect or if a person suffers loss because another person suffers injury or death as a result of a defect. Manufacturers should be aware that if found liable in either of these circumstances, they could be forced to pay large amounts of money in compensation.

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Mandatory labelling by suppliers  

All portable swimming pools, including inflatable pools supplied in Australia must carry warning labels both on the pool and its packaging.

Retailers and suppliers who sell pools without the required labels will face court-imposed fines of up to $1.1 million for corporations and $220,000 for individuals, plus on-the-spot fines of $550. Information on the warning labels can vary according to the height of the pool.

Portable/inflatable pools less than 300mm in height 

Portable pools 300mm or less in height must include the statement:

WARNING!
Children have drowned in portable swimming pools.
Ensure active adult supervision at all times.
Do not leave children unsupervised in or around the pool - keep them within arms’ reach.
Empty and store safely after use.

Portable/inflatable pools 300mm or more in height

Inflatable pools 300mm or more in height must carry:

WARNING!
Children have drowned in portable swimming pools.
Ensure active adult supervision at all times.
Do not leave children unsupervised in or around the pool - keep them within arms’ reach.
Pool fencing laws apply to this pool. Consult your Local Government Authority for fencing requirements.

The warning must be permanently printed or embossed on the portable swimming pool and legible from a distance of three metres to a person aged over 18 years with normal vision.

Also, the following safety sign, not less than 4 centimetres in diameter, must be permanently printed or embossed on the portable swimming pool and placed next to the warning message.

 portable swimming pool safety sign

 

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