WA Government issues warning on pool gate hinges in WA homes
The WA Government has recently issued a further warning to WA property owners in relation to pool gates and the protrusion of gate hinges which may provide footholds or handholds to children attempting to climb into the pool area.
1 What are we talking about?
The hinges on gates will often stick out from the gate or fence and provide a ledge which can be used by a child as a foothold or handhold to enable the child to climb the pool barrier.
AS 1926.1 has requirements for indentations and projections that exceed 10 mm in depth that could form a handhold or foothold. The standard requires that these indentations be spaced at least 900 mm vertically apart and includes gate hinges.
The recent Government publication notes that typically the handhold or foothold provided by a gate hinge is the upper most surface of the hinge. However this is not always the case, sometimes other components within the hinge, including upper and lower horizontal flanges, can form a handhold or foothold. As such, it must be ensured that the lowest handhold is spaced at least 900mm vertically from the highest foothold.
2 The Sobering Summary
WA Government notes:
Pool gates are statistically considered to be an area of high risk, generally being identified as the most common:
- avenue of access for young children that drown in pools; and
- element of non-compliance when inspected
For more info see here.
When a house is being sold, the seller should have a copy of the latest Council pool barrier inspections available for review by the buyer to demonstrate that the pool barrier is compliant.
3 Council/Shire Pool Inspections
In WA, Local Government has the responsibility to inspect all private pool barriers every four years. While not a new requirement, the number of deaths of children in WA in private swimming pools has resulted in local Councils and Shires paying more attention to private pool barriers and their statutory obligation for inspection thereof. For more background see here.