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Rules good for…?

As of 2012, all pallet racking will require regular inspection. We checked with our Racking provider how common a problem falling racking was, and we could not find one single reported injury from racking falling except for at the time it was hit. Having racking checked for static safety will therefore not improve safety one bit.

Red Tape and threats of legal action is one of businesses worst issues to contend with. As the impact of the racking legislation is unclear, we can draw parallels from a related example. The new pool fence laws are a perfect example of probably well intentioned people’s ideas leading to a very large group of people having to incur significant costs and inconvenience without much (if any) public benefit. Having young children and a pool myself, I’ll start by saying that every one of the 6 children under 5 who drown in Queensland each year is a tragedy. But to put this into perspective, in a typical year (2008), 2,300 Australians died by accident: 1226 from road deaths, 576 from poisoning, 244 from falls, and 149 from drowning. 4 times as many people died from consuming household chemicals as drowned in pools. Yet there is not even a requirement to have a basic lock on household chemical storage, and most of the pool drownings would not have been prevented by tougher pool fence laws (parental supervision, swimming skills, slipping accidents and other things come into play).

Coming back to the comparison with legislation in the business world:

-          The deadline for registering pools was May. In May, State Government announced that due to the floods, they haven’t been able to get the register running in time, and they are extending the time frame until November. Can you imagine a business owner or pool owner being let off the hook due to a totally unrelated event?

-          Inspectors’ licences are valid for 12 months before they have to go through the approval process again. How much are rules expected to change in 12 months? And if inspectors can’t keep up with changes to rules, how can the public???

-          All 335,000 known pools in Qld need to be inspected at least every 2 years. Each inspection costs around $200, plus re-visits if it doesn’t pass. The initial inspection cost alone is $77 Million on pools that passed once upon a time. Plus any rectification costs, which haven’t been costed before the rules were made…

-          Whilst pools have been targeted, do rivers, dams, cliffs etc also require fences? Or is society being selective about who we can blame for misfortune?

Before my children were 3 years old they could move a chair and open the pool gate. They wouldn’t bother climbing a fence. The point is, we are getting rules for the sake of rules to make it look like we are doing something to keep people safe. Are we sure that all this compliance is making things better, or just more costly?

As always, Onwards and Upwards!

Fred Carlsson

General Manager