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Spa Pool Safety in Australia - The Complete Guide

Spa Pool Safety in Australia - The Complete Guide

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Amongst the convenience and enjoyment of owning a spa pool, comes the need to be safety conscious. As a spa owner, you’re responsible for the safety of all spa users. Although keeping track of relevant legislation can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. By following our ultimate spa pool safety guide below, you can be confident that you’re doing your part to keep everyone safe.

Must I register my spa pool?

All spa pool owners must register their pool online on the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register. You will then be issued with a certificate of registration.
 
To confirm this registration, you can check the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register website to see if your spa pool has been listed.

Do swimming pool laws apply to spa pools?

Any structure over 30 centimetres deep intended for aquatic activity needs to comply with the New South Wales Swimming Pools Act 1992. As a result, spa pool owners will need to meet all relevant requirements stated in this act. 

Does my spa pool need a fence?

A core requirement in the Swimming Pools Act 1992 is for all spa pools to be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier. This law applies regardless if children are living on the property or not. By having this legal requirement it helps to ensure that no child can access the spa pool unsupervised. For the barrier to meet the legal safety requirements, it needs to be at least 1.2 metres high and designed in such a way that young kids can’t climb over or crawl under it.
 
Likewise, the gate used to enter your spa must be self-closing and swing outward from the spa pool. The latch will need to be at least 1.5 metres above ground level so that kids aren’t able to open it.
 
Your barrier will need to be installed and checked before your spa pool can be filled with water. It’s essential that this is done within two months of installing it. As a spa owner, you’re responsible for ensuring your barrier meets the requirements and remains in a suitable condition.
 
For more information, check out the pool safety checklists page on the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register.

At mySpa Sydney, we have a huge amount of experience installing swim spas and spa pools. We can landscape your property to match legal and personal requirements. Contact us today if you have any questions.

Do I need to supervise my child in the spa pool?

As with any form of water, you must always supervise your child when they're in the spa pool. Children under 5 shouldn't really be in the spa pool at all due to the high temperatures. Nevertheless, with any child, it’s best to have a designated supervisor to ensure that at least one adult at all times is responsible for monitoring them.
 
In an urgent or life-threatening situation, ring the emergency services on 000.


Can my child wear floaties in the spa pool?

Although there’s no specific legislation around your children wearing floaties in the spa pool, never rely on these as a safety measure itself. Generally speaking, children under 5 aren't supposed to be in a spa pool. If they’re over five, and you’re supervising them from outside, make sure to continually have your eye on them as their floatation device isn’t always reliable.

How do I make sure my child is safe in the spa pool?

In addition to supervising your child in the water, it’s also essential that they’re constantly staying hydrated. As spa pool water is usually warm, your child must drink water while they’re in the swim spa to avoid dehydration. This safety precaution is the same for adults, as they can get dehydrated too.
 
Another safety factor to consider is the length of your child’s swim. Dependent on their age and the temperature of the water, the length of their swim may vary. Generally, it's advised that children aren’t in the water for longer than 20 minutes at a time. This duration might decrease for kids of a younger age.

Does my spa pool need a cover?

Currently, there are no regulatory requirements for your spa pool cover. That said, it’s still best to invest in a high-quality hardcover. Doing so helps to ensure that children won’t be able to lift it, as well as efficiently retains the spa's heat.
 
Do keep in mind that the spa cover alone does not replace the need for a fence. It’s just an additional safety measure.

Does my spa pool need steps?

It’s not a legal requirement for your spa pool to have steps, but it does make it a whole lot easier. At MySpa Sydney, our spa steps come with large slip-resistant rubber treads and an optional second side handrail.

How can I make sure that my child's hair doesn’t get trapped in the filtration?

As part of Australia swimming legislation, it’s required that all spa pools must have a filtration and water re-circulation system that meets Australian standards. This policy aims to reduce the chances of a child having their hair entangled or sucked in.
 
To further minimise this risk, it’s highly recommended that children’s hair is tied back when they’re in the spa. Similarly, it’s also best for young kids not to put their heads under water in the spa pool to prevent entrapment.

Must my spa pool have a CPR sign?

It's a legal requirement to have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your spa pool. The sign must be in good condition and be easily readable from three metres away.
 
You can buy this CPR sign from St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross, Royal Life Saving, or your local pool shop.
Make sure to take the information on the sign very seriously. Both yourself and your family should become familiar with the steps involved in CPR in case you ever need to use it.


Does my new spa pool need to be approved?

Before getting a new spa pool, you’ll need to have it approved by the local council. To gain approval, they’ll need to check:
  • The safety of the pump.
  • The location and details of the safety barriers.
  • The CPR signage location.
  • The adequacy of structural support for the spa pool.

Can I install my spa on a deck?

If you want to install your spa pool on your deck, you’ll need to get advice from an engineer or your local council. Their expertise is vital to ensure that the deck can take the weight of the spa pool.
 
You’ll also need to seek similar advice if you’re planning on installing your spa pool near a retaining wall, on a balcony, or a suspended floor.

MySpaSydney have years of building and landscaping experience. We can help you get your spa installed on, or in, your deck. Just give us a call on 02 8850 6550. 

How can I organise an inspection of my spa pool?

Your spa pool can be inspected by local councils and certifiers accredited by the Building Professionals Board. If your spa pool meets all the above safety requirements, they’ll be able to issue a certificate of compliance.
 
This certificate will be valid for three years from the date it’s issued. For more information, go to the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register website.

What happens during a spa pool inspection?

The purpose of an inspection is to ensure that your spa pool meets the legal safety requirements. Before the certifier begins their inspection, they’ll ask you to sign a contract about the work that they’re about to do. During the inspection, they’ll check that your barrier and spa pool meets the requirements discussed earlier.
 
If it does meet the requirements, you’ll be issued with a certificate of compliance. On the other hand, if it’s not compliant, your certifier will issue a notice and certificate of non-compliance. After this, you’ll have six weeks to fix the non-compliance before your certifier will need to contact the local council.
 
Selective certifiers are also able to carry out minor spa repairs to help make your spa pool comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. For them to be able to do this, they must be authorized under the Home Building Act to carry out structural landscaping or swimming pool building.
 
If this minor work will cost less than $1,000, the spa pool owner is under no obligation to have the certifier complete the job. Instead, they can employ someone else or do the work themselves.
 
Your certifier will charge you a fee for each inspection needed to achieve compliance. It’s useful to keep in mind that over 95% of swimming pools and spas require more than two inspections.

How do I keep my spa pool in a safe condition?

In addition to the initial approval, your spa pool must remain a safe shape. Your spa dealer will generally give you a rough checklist of weekly or monthly tasks to ensure that your spa remains in excellent condition.
 
Maintenance will be less frequent if you’ve invested in a high-quality spa pool. For more information, read our article, “Why a
 
Whenever doing maintenance on your spa pool, the spa's gates must never be propped open. Instead, the latch should be closed regardless of what maintenance work is being conducted. Doing so prevents any children from entering the spa pool unsupervised.


How do I make sure the water in my spa is safe to soak in?

Another safety factor to consider is the cleanliness of the water in your spa. As a spa owner, you're also responsible for keeping your water sanitary and clean. To do so, you'll need to maintain the water chemistry. This vital process generally involves using:
  • Sanitizers such as bromine and chlorine, to disinfect the water.
  • pH increase and decrease to adjust the acidity of the water.
  • Calcium boosters to add minerals such as calcium to the water.
  • Spa Shock to remove foul odours, correct water discolouration, and enhance water clarity.
  • Alkalinity increase to add any required alkaline to the water.
To determine when to use these chemicals, you'll need to frequently check your water chemistry using a spa test kit or test strip.
 
Remember to consult your spa owner’s manufacturer for guidance about the chemistry of your particular spa pool.
 
If you don’t maintain the water chemistry in your spa properly, you risk spa users getting:
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Dried out hair.
  • Rashes.
  • Increased likelihood of developing a respiratory disease or urinary tract infection.
For more information, read our article, “How to Keep Your Spa Pool Water Cleaner For Longer”.

Why is spa pool safety important?

Not only is spa pool safety a legal requirement, but it’s essential to keeping you and your family safe. Rather than looking at a compliance inspection and certificate as being inconvenient, remember that these are being conducted to keep us safe. If you try to shortcut safety requirements, you’ll only be increasing the chances of someone drowning - a risk not worth taking.
 
Spa pool safety is more than just a checklist, but rather a mindset of keeping ourselves and others safe. This essential process involves taking necessary precautions, looking after one another, and taking care of your spa pool.
 
We hope this guide has helped you find out everything you need to know about spa pool safety in Australia. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to visit our site, see us in-store at Unit 4-10, Hudson Ave in Castle Hill Sydney, or call us on 02 8850 6550.
 
You may also want to check out our article, “What Not to Do in Your Spa Pool”.

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