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The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA Victoria ) has applauded the Deputy NSW Coroner's call for more comprehensive swimming pool and spa testing laws and Standards.

The call follows the Deputy Coroner's recommendations this morning following the inquest into the drowning of an 11-year old girl who became trapped on a spa suction fitting. “This is a tragic case and my sympathies are with the family and friends of Shannon Rankin,” SPASA Victoria CEO Brendan Watkins said.

SPASA Victoria has been actively lobbying Standards Australia for some years for a revision of AS1926.3 Water Recirculation Systems. “We are in discussions with Standards Australia with the view of improving safety around pools and spas as part of our continuing commitment to safe practice” said Mr Watkins

“In the public interest, regulators should do everything in their power to ensure something like this can never happen again. To protect Australian swimmers and pool owners, tougher Standards, similar to those in the United States, that were upgraded two years ago, must be fast-tracked” added Mr Watkins.

“Under our proposal, which mirrors the US approach, a tough performance-based approach would be introduced that would require pool and spa suction to pass rigorous tests to eliminate the risk of hair, finger, body or mechanical (eg: jewellery, etc.) entrapment.”

Mr Watkins said avoiding the risk of entrapment, that can be caused in pools or spas with a loose, broken or missing suction fitting or drain cover – is vital, and that pool owners be vigilant in having their pool or spa suction maintained by a pool professional.

In light of the Coroner’s finding, SPASA Victoria recommends pool and spa owners with concerns about the design of their swimming pool or spa suction should contact a SPASA Victoria -member licensed pool builder, or pool shop, to organise a safety check. Broken or missing drain covers may need to be replaced and anti-entrapment drain covers may need to be fitted.

A complete listing of SPASA Victoria members can be found: in the spasa victoria members areas here

SPASA Victoria recommends all parents be aware of the need to constantly supervise children while they are in a swimming pool or spa - to never take their eyes off a child when in the water.

The SPASA Victoria Pool & Spa Safety Fact Sheet is available from the SPASA Victoria website

Media enquiries: Brendan Watkins 03 9501 2040                  16th February 2010