Sth Africa serious about pool safety

Friday, 10 August, 2018

Sth Africa serious about pool safety

Despite all the safeguards, kids are still drowning in backyard pools. In South Africa, new draft legislation deems that childproof fencing is not a good enough solution on its own, as recently reported by Business Insider.

According to the article, a new draft from the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) dictates that all private swimming pools capable of holding more than 30 cm of water are required to be fitted with a safety net or safety cover — in addition to fencing.

It cannot be a DIY job and must be fitted by an accredited installer. It is also judged unsuitable if it allows rainwater to pool for more than five minutes, or if a child can unfasten it. Covers and nets require the use of keys, combination locks or special tools or devices to remove. At the large end of the scale, the net or cover must have a carrying weight of at least 220 kg, designed to hold a child and two adults in a rescue operation. For smaller pools (of less than 2.4 m at the widest point), that weight requirement is 125 kg.

The requirements form part of SANS 10134, a SABS standard last updated in 2008. Other changes include a requirement for self-closing gates in fences or walls around swimming pools, and a new obligation on renters or other non-owners to keep completely empty any unsafe pools.

It is the responsibility of the owner of a pool to ensure it has both a fence or wall and a net or cover, the standard holds — but any occupier of a property “shall not allow water in an unprotected swimming pool”. Occupiers are also responsible for ensuring that some sort of pole, be it a brush or a leaf scoop, is available near any pool “to assist a distressed person in the water”, and to regularly inspect a pool enclosure for damage.

The standard requires walls or fences to be at least 1.2 m tall, to be sunk into the ground at least 50 cm deep, to be very hard for children to climb and with gates difficult for children to open.

Image credit: © Johnson

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