According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one through four. Injuries for misuse of chemicals in pools lead to almost 5,000 annual emergency room visits.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano to put in place safety procedures and guidelines for pool and spa contractors in New Jersey was approved by the Assembly on Monday by a vote of 61-13-2.
"Currently, it is too easy for an individual to claim they are certified and knowledgeable in pool and spa contracting without actually having completed licensure or training programs," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "Just as there are guidelines in place for contractors handling plumbing and electrical projects inside a home, there needs to be standards for contractors installing and maintaining the plumbing and electrical systems operating our backyard pools and spas."
The bill (A-3772) would establish licensing standards for pool and spa service contractors, builders, and installers. To be eligible for licensure as a pool and spa service contractor, under the bill, an applicant must be at least 18 years old and be of good moral character. The applicant must meet qualifications -- established by the state oversight committee established by the legislation -- regarding experience, continuing education, financial responsibility and integrity. Applicants also would need to establish qualifications to perform and supervise various phases of pool and spa service contracting as evidenced by successfully completing a specific certification.
The bill also would create a seven-member Pool and Spa Service Contractors and Pool and Spa Builders and Installers Advisory Committee in the Department of Law and Public Safety, under the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. Appointees to the Advisory Committee would be New Jersey residents who have experience in plumbing, and electrical or pool maintenance to ensure expertise in relevant industries.
"While some may think that a pool and spa's installation and maintenance don't warrant licensure, it's really quite the opposite," said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano
(D-Union). "Although their function and purpose are of a relaxed nature, if proper protocols are not in place to ensure their safety, the end result could be tragic."
The bill also stipulates that electricians, plumbers, HVAC-R contractors, and homeowners conducting pool and spa building or repair on their own residential property would not be required to obtain a license to renovate or repair non-potable water components of a pool, hot tub, spa or free standing pool heaters.
The bill will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Originally posted by NJ Assembly Democrats