The Consumer Product Safety Commission and International
Code Council both recently heard requests to alter their
language as it relates to entrapment safety.
CPSC held hearings in November 2009 regarding its
proposed definition for unblockable drains in the Virginia
Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Unblockable drains
are exempt from the need to have two drain outlets per
pump, or a backup system such as an SVRS, according to
language in the VGB Act. The language cites dimensions of
more than 18-by-23 inches or 29 inches on the diagonal.
Opinions on the proposed dimensions vary. Some think the
measurements are restrictive and arbitrary, and that
performance tests should be conducted on each drain
Some SVRS manufacturers said the dimensions are too
small. Paul Pennington of Vac-Alert in Santa Rosa, Calif.,
said that Congress originally intended to require
unblockable drains to be at least 4-by-6-feet when the VGB
Act was first being drafted.
Others believe no truly unblockable drain exists, so the
exemption should be removed.
As of press time, CPSC was still considering the final
wording on its unblockable drain definition. Kathleen
Reilly, a spokesperson for the agency, said it is not known
when the document will be published.
Also in November, an ICC committee voted unanimously
against a proposal, requested by the Pool Safety Council,
to require safety vacuum release systems or
gravity-drainage systems on all pools in the 2012
International Building Code and International
Residential Code Appendix G.
This would have taken language back to the 2003 and 2006
ICC will reconvene in May 2010 to finalize the model
codes. If it chooses, the Pool Safety Council can appeal
the decision then. “We feel confident the ICC
decision will be overturned in May at the final
hearing,” said Ben Schneider, PSC’s
deputy communications director.