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MAJOR RETAILER FIGHTS POOL SLIDE RULING Toys R Us is appealing a 2011 ruling that awarded US$20m to the family of Robin Aleo, who died in 2006 at age 29, from injuries sustained while using an inflatable pool slide sold at its stores. The national retailer is arguing that the 1976 Consumer Product Safety Commission regulation cited in the plaintiff’s case does not apply to inflatable in-ground pool slides, but only to rigid pool slides. “Inflatable slides did not exist (when the regulation was put in place),” Toys R Us lawyers argue in a legal brief filed in its appeal. The company said the regulation “established performance standards that were designed for rigid slides and that could not be met by an air- filled slide made of fabric like the Inflatable Slide.” But Aleo’s family says the regulation applies to all swimming pool slides “regardless of the materials of manufacture or structural characteristics.”

PARENTS OF ENTRAPMENT VICTIM SETTLE FOR US$40M The parents of Zachary Archer Cohn, whose entrapment death resulted in the criminal charging of a US pool builder, have settled with all defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit for a total of US$40m.

The entire amount will go to the ZAC Foundation, a charity created in the child’s name.

This marks the closing chapter of one of the most high-profile drowning tragedies known to the US industry. In July 2007, the six year old drowned in his parents’ home pool after his arm became stuck in a wall drain meant to feed a spillover spa. In early 2008, parents Brian and Karen Cohn filed a lawsuit against nine companies and individuals, including pool builder Shoreline Pools. In the same year, Shoreline President David Lionetti was charged with second-degree manslaughter – the first known case when a pool builder was criminally charged for a drowning that occurred in a pool he or she built. Police said his company recklessly caused Zachary Cohn’s death by failing to install safety devices that had been required in the state since 2004, the year before the pool was permitted.

New South Wales Government Launches Online Pool Register

The NSW Government has launched an online pool register, requiring every residential pool in the state to be registered by 29 October 2013. To be registered on the online database, the pool owners are expected to complete a checklist, which measures their child-resistant fences and gates against current standards and shows them if any work needs to be done. Under current laws pools with a depth of more than 300 millimetres must be properly fenced, even if they are above-ground.

The aim is to make sure a pool is compliant with AS1926.1 (2012).

Pool owners face fines of $220 if they fail to register their pools, up to a potential $2200 if the matter is referred to court. Once a pool is registered, homeowners can apply for a compliance certificate from the council or an accredited certifier, which will be mandatory for properties with a pool before they can be sold or leased after 24 April 2014. While the aim is to make swimming pools safer and ensure that fences are properly maintained, members of the swimming pool and spa industry have not been brought into the process by being eligible to inspect the pools. Council or an accredited certifier

can issues certificates of compliance – but these are only required if the pool is to be sold or leased.

Local councils can charge up to $150 for an initial inspection, and up to $100 for a second or subsequent inspection. However, private certifiers will set their own schedule of fees, with charges in Queensland giving indications that fees might exceed $400. Compliance certificates will be valid for three years, unless a subsequent inspection finds the pool to be non-compliant.

Last year New South Wales had th e highest number of drowning deaths of any Australian state or territory.

Call For Entries For World’s Most Spectacular Projects

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) has announced a call for entries for the 2013 APSP International Awards of Excellence. The programme recognises and rewards installations of pools, spas, hot tubs and water features that showcase the most beautiful and creative work in the pool and spa industry.

APSP receives hundreds of entries each year, representing member firms across the US and the world. Entries can be submitted until

1 August 2013. Entries are critiqued and awarded by a judging panel of APSP members representing a cross section of the various segments of the pool and hot tub industry, as well as representatives from fields such as architecture and landscape design. Award recipients will be announced in the fall and celebrated at the International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo in November in Las Vegas. “The Awards of Excellence programme is an anticipated event every year that provides a creative way for APSP members to showcase their artistry and professionalism to the world,” said Bill Weber, APSP President and CEO. “In turn, consumers looking for inspiration for their own backyard escape can check out last year’s award winning installations at ww w.apsp. org,” added Weber.

APSP +1 703 838 0083

SPN June 2013 89

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