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Swimming Pool Inspections

Kids can Drown without a Sound

Cessnock Council is participating in the state-wide “Kids Can Drown Without a Sound” portable pool safety campaign undertaken by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) and NSW Government. The campaign was developed after experts were concerned by the number of children experiencing drowning and near drowning incidents in portable swimming pools.

Swimming Pool Safety Fencing

Swimming pool safety fencing is important in preventing children from drowning and must be maintained as an effective barrier for the life of the pool.

Every year children die needlessly due to insufficient swimming pool safety barriers and reports show that a significant percentage of toddler pool drowning deaths occur in relatives’, friends’ and neighbours’ pools as well as in their own backyard.  Regular checks can ensure the integrity of the fence and gates as a safety barrier to young children. 

Owner's responsibility

The Swimming Pools Act 1992 requires the owner of premises on which a swimming pool is located to ensure that the pool is at all times surrounded by an approved child resistant barrier.

The Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012

In 2012, a comprehensive review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of 5 years around private (backyard) swimming pools in NSW.

Pool owners must register their swimming pool and/or spa pool in a state wide pool register (by 29 October 2013). Penalties will apply for failing to register.

Registrations will be available through

Fact Sheet: NSW Swimming Pool Register 
Further Information from the Division of Local Government

Occupier's responsibility

It is the responsibility of the occupier to maintain the barrier in a state of good repair, and to ensure that all gates or doors providing access to the swimming pool are kept securely closed and latched at all times when not in actual use.  The Act also requires that occupier to display a prescribed warning notice in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool, detailing resuscitation techniques together with a supervision warning.  Pool safety notices are available for a small fee from Council's Administration Centre.

How to keep your pool safe

  • Ensure the pool is supervised by an adult at all times. A secure pool is no substitute for responsible adult supervision.
  • Do not leave objects near the barrier, as children may use these to climb over the fence or gate.
  • Teach children to swim from an early age.
  • Undertake resuscitation training, this will give adults the skills required in an emergency situation.

Ensure your swimming pool barrier complies. Council has developed a Swimming Pool Barrier Safety Checklist to assist you. This checklist is also available from Customer Service.

Swimming Pool Safety Checklists 

Healthy Swimming Pools

Looking after our pools

If swimming pools and spa pools are not adequately disinfected and cleaned they can provide for the transmission of medical conditions such as:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Skin and wound infections
  • Ear, nose and throat infections
  • Plantar warts; and
  • Athlete’s Foot

Pool owners should double check that their pools are correctly maintained and clean throughout the swimming season.  If a pool's chlorine, pH levels or other disinfection system are not maintained properly, the chemicals cannot do their job properly.  It is therefore crucial for pool owners to regularly adjust chemicals when needed. Pool filters should also be carefully maintained to ensure they are working properly.

How to stay safe and healthy

There are some key things that everyone can do to keep their backyard pool and their local community pool healthy:-

  • Don't swim if you have diarrhoea or have suffered from diarrhoea within the past week.
  • Don't swallow the pool water and try not to let water into your mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
  • Don't allow pets in the pool.

Parents have a key role to play in ensuring pools remain safe for everyone by ensuring that non-toilet trained infants do not spread germs in the swimming pool and can do the following things to avoid pool contamination from infants:-

  • Make sure they use the toilet before entering the pool and wear tight-fitting waterproof pants or swimming nappies at all times.
  • Change nappies regularly – not beside the pool but in the change rooms.
  • After changing the nappy, throw out the waste and wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

More health and safety tips

  • Pool filters should be operated at least 8 to 12 hours per day depending on pool use.
  • Don’t use glassware or electrical appliances around pools.
  • People shouldn't consume alcohol and then soak in a heated spa bath.  The blood vessels dilate and venous pooling can occur resulting in fainting and drowning.

Further information in relation to swimming pool water quality can be found at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/PublicHealth/environment/water/water_spa.asp