What are the electrical safety requirements for a pool?

Electrical safety requirements apply to all electrical equipment, pool fencing support structures and other fixed conductive material near a pool. They also cover fencing erected after the pool electrical equipment and ancillary fittings have been installed.

In general, pool fences and support structures situated closer than 1250 mm to swimming pools may require connection of an equipotential bond (earthing). Equipotential bonding joins together all the conductive parts in and near the pool, such as the steel reinforcing in the shell and handrails, and connects them to an earthing point. This greatly reduces the risk of electric shock should an electrical fault occur.

The installation of an equipotential bond is electrical work and may only be undertaken by a licensed electrical contractor. The specific requirements are outlined in the relevant Wiring Rules Standard. The requirements are dependant on a number of factors which include, but are not limited to, the arrangement of electrical equipment associated with the pool (such as pool pumps and filters), the existence of an equipotential bond to the reinforcing metal of the pool shell, when the pool fence was installed and the distance the pool fence is away from the pool. Only a licensed electrical contractor can assess compliance with the Wiring Rules.

Compliance with the pool barrier standard is a separate matter to compliance with the Wiring Rules. Consequently a pool barrier cannot be deemed non-compliant with the pool safety standard solely on the ground it does not satisfy the Wiring Rules.

Consumers constructing new pools are encouraged to consult a licensed electrical contractor early in the planning stage along with the pool builder, fence installer and landscaper. This can avoid unnecessary excavation work involving damaging concrete, decking or floor coverings for the purpose of installing electrical wiring.

For owners of existing pools, the PSC recommends that owners contact a licensed electrical contractor to discuss their pool’s circumstances to ensure that the pool, pool fence and electrical equipment in the pool area are installed in an electrically safe manner.

Further information on equipotential bonding, pool fencing and electrical safety can be found at Electrical Safety Office’ website atwww.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au