Word on the street in Gauteng

Since the announcement of the pending safety legislation in Gauteng, the public have raised some concerns about how they (and their pockets) will be affected. Below are some of the common questions and concerns doing the rounds. Feel free to comment below the post.

1. When is the legislation going to be passed and what will this entail?

The draft legislation is currently awaiting signing into legislation and once signed will be gazetted into immediate law. It is anticpated that this process will be completed by the end of 2011.

2. Is our cover SABS and/or Safety Approved?

The PowerPlastics Pool Covers Solid Safety Cover meets the stringent safety standards as set down by French law which far exceeds anything else available locally. As such, it is designed to carry the weight of 2 adults and a child.

3. Is it only the cover that we will require or do we need a fence and alarm as well?

The legislation will call for a combination of 2 barriers.

4. Why a safety cover and not a net? I have heard that a net is safer and is an approved safety product?

Personally, we believe a solid safety cover is safer. While pool nets truly are one of the most traditional pool barriers (alongside fences), there are a few drawbacks to a net:

  • Nets can weather and sag over time, which means it can start to dip into the water. If a child crawls on the net, he/she is then at risk of drowning.
  • Similarly, if water levels are too high after top ups or heavy rainfall a net can actually sit in the pool water, not above it, should it be sagging even slightly in the first place.
  • If a child crawls onto the net, he/she could get a limb stuck in the mesh and panic, again this is a drowning risk.
  • With nets using a hooks and eyelets fastening system, securing a pool can become a hassle and will usually require two or more people to cover it and get the tension right. The end result is that the hassle factor means the pool owner can become idle and have a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude to securing the pool after use. So, whatever the safety device used, it needs to be quick and easy to use with minimal effort, and a solid (PVC) safety cover is definitely less of a hassle than a net! You’d be stunned at the amount of drownings that occur in pools that have pool safety devices – only problem was that they weren’t actually ON the pool when the supervising adult turned their back for a few seconds. Take the road of less hassle – far safer.

5. How safe is a solid safety cover?

Every supplier’s safety cover varies slightly, depending on quality of manufacturing, materials, weight tolerance and fastening systems.

What I can vouch for is the Solid Safety Cover from PowerPlastics Pool Covers, which is extremely safe when fitted as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. It can withstand the weight of two adults and a child without any risk or damage to the cover. It uses a lightweight aluminum pole and ratchet system to create the tension required – no fiddly hooks and eyelets. Also important are the drainage holes in this cover. They prevent rain and garden sprinkler water forming a pool on top of the cover – something which a curious child could want investigate and play in. Remember, a child can drown in just inches of water.

6. When will this become law?

At the moment, we can’t say when. Please regularly check TopStep’s Legislation News page for updates on timelines and rollout across the provinces.

7. Who is going to monitor this process?

Compliance and/or failure to do so will be a Municipal function. As legislation rolls out, the respective Municipalities will inform and educate the public on compliance procedures.

8. Will there be fines involved?

Yes, if there are no fines for breaking a law, why have a law in the first place? If a drunk driver is not  prosecuted, what’s to stop him the next time?

9. Will there be a subsidy if we cannot afford this?

This is highly unlikely at this stage

10. Will all municipal pools be covered?

It is unclear at this stage how the issue of public pools will be handled but, suffice to say, there will be pressure to implement some sort of supervisory control.

11. Is this just a ‘money making’ law again?

The public will always have its sceptics! The legislation is being introduced to lower the drowning statistics and force pool owners to make more responsible choices for their children and swimming pools.

Some may see the fines for failure to comply as a Municipal money making scheme but stop and consider how much money it will actually take to pass the legislation and to ensure compliance in the first place?

Municipalities have no affiliation or endorsement deals with any commercial or third party/ independent pool safety suppliers, so they won’t get any kick backs!

The public are free to form their own opinions but we at TopStep do not believe this to be a glorified money making scheme on the part of either the Municipalities or the industry’s suppliers. It is about saving lives, and you can’t place a price on a child’s life.

By Brad Corbi, PowerPlastics Pool Covers, JHB


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