A voluntary recall is underway of unsafe components of gate latches for swimming pool fences which can cause the gate to be locked in an open position, posing a potential drowning risk for children.
The strike component is being recalled, contained in the following latches:
SafeTech Top Pull Pool Gate Latch (Key Lockable)
G8Safe Top Pull Pool Gate Latch (Key Lockable)
SafeTech TriLatch (Key Lockable)
G8Safe TriLatch (Key Lockable)
These products are also available for purchase as part of the following kits:
SafeTech Trade Packs (Key Lockable)
G8Safe Megapack (Key Lockable)
An investigation into the imported products found that they do not comply with Australian standards relating to safety barriers for swimming pools. If the gate is open, turning the key in the striker component of the gate latch may cause the gate to remain locked in the open position which will not prevent unsupervised access to the pool area.
They were sold exclusively through Bunnings Warehouse stores in Australia, the hardware chain reporting that more than 80,700 non-compliant units have been sold throughout Australian since January 2014, with an estimated 8,500 sold in WA.
The supplier of the product in Australia, SafeTech Hardware Pty Ltd, has initiated a voluntary recall and advised affected consumers to disable the key lock mechanism by removing the key from the striker and filling the key hole with waterproof adhesive and register for a replacement striker. Once the key lock is disabled the pool latch is compliant with Australian Pool Safety Standards.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard appeals to householders to urgently check their pool gate latches and their components.
“This is a very serious safety issue so I urge all owners and residents of properties with pools to ensure the recalled components are not fitted to their pool gates and, if they are, to take urgent action,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Consumers should immediately disable the key lock mechanism by removing the key from the striker, or filling the key hole with a waterproof adhesive. It is important to note that disabling the key mechanism will not affect your existing pool compliance status or its ability to latch and secure the gate.
“As an ultimate remedy, consumers will be offered either a keyless striker or a replacement lockable striker for the latch.”
Affected consumers should register their details by phoning 1300 034 096 or visiting http://www.safetechhardware.com.au. The replacement product will come with "How to Change Your Striker" instructions, which are also available on the SafeTech Hardware website.
Building Commissioner Ken Bowron said laws specify that swimming pool gates must have the correct locking mechanisms.
“Now that this recall has been announced, private home owners and landlords with rental properties that have pools are obliged to check that the gate latches are compliant with Australian safety standards,” Mr Bowron said.
“Failure to replace the non-compliant striker means the home owner or landlord could be held liable should there be a drowning incident or tragedy, so urgent action is needed.”