South Africa has updated its pool safety regulations this year and now all private swimming pools not only need to be fenced off, but they also need to be fitted with either a pool cover or safety net when not in use. The new regulations form part of the SANS 10134 which is a SABS standard for the safeness of private swimming pools.
Lets take a look at the regulations and some additional measures that can be taken to safetyproof your swimming pool. No single safety measure is foolproof therefore its better to rather use as many as you can together.
1. Swimming Pool Fence
According to the South Africa Bureau of standards (SABS) a fence must surround a body of water that holds more than 30 cm of water.
The fence gate must be self-closing and self-locking. The fence must be at least 1.2m high and sunk into the ground by at least 50cm. The vertical slats should be no more than 100mm apart.
Children should not be able to climb over or through the fence and should not be able to open the gates themselves.
2. Swimming Pool Cover
The SA safety standard also requires a swimming that holds more than 30cm of water to be covered by a cover or safety net. DIY installed nets are no longer allowed. An “accredited responsible party” must professionally install a cover and a cover is not approved if a child can unfasten it.
If your pool is small (less than 2.4m at the widest point) the cover must be able to hold the weight of one adult and one child. If you have a larger pool then the cover must hold the weight of two adults and one child in case the first adult falls into the pool during a rescue mission.
3. Swimming Pool Alarm
A swimming pool alarm is an additional safety measure you can have installed. Detectors with sensors that extend into the water are mounted onto the sides of the pool. You can also get free floating alarms. Waves form on the pool surface when a child comes into contact with the water, which triggers these alarms.
You can also have a pool alarm installed on the swimming pool gate, which is activated when the gate is opened.
4. Swimming Pool Chemicals
Make sure all pool chemicals are locked away out of sight and out of reach. Children may mistakenly drink these and contact with the skin can cause chemical burns.
DO NOT FORGET
- The same rules apply to water features and fishponds. Cover these with safety nets as children can drown in as little as 2.5cm of water.
- It’s also a good idea to keep the pool brush or net nearby. The pole can be used to help someone in the water if needed.
- Regularly inspect your safety measures. It’s not uncommon for dogs to chew the safety nets causing them to become lax and ineffective.
- There are many different products and brands available. Make sure whatever you choose is SABS approved.
Intemark (2018) Aquawatch Pool Alarms. [image] Available from: http://intemark.co.za/Aquawatch/ [Accessed 18 October 2018].
Lifebuoy (2018) Lifebuoy features. [image] Available from: https://www.lifebuoyalarm.com [Accessed 18 October 2018].
SABS (2015) The safeness of private swimming pools [online]. Available from: https://store.sabs.co.za/catalog/product/view/_ignore_category/1/id/218720/s/sans-10134-2008-ed-1-02/ [Accessed 18 October 2018].
Safepool (n.d.) Swimming pool by laws in South Africa [online]. Available from: http://safepool.co.za/swimming-pool-fence-by-laws-in-south-africa/ [Accessed 18 October 2018].
de Wet, P. (2018) These are the new safety standards for private swimming pools – and a fence is no longer good enough. Business Insider South Africa, [online] pp. https://www.businessinsider.co.za/private-swimming-pool-standard-sans-10134-mandatory-safety-net-to-prevent-drowning-2018-7 [Accessed 18 October 2018].