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Property managers and landlords will now face fines of up to $200,000 if they do not comply with new mandatory safety standards for bunk beds.
The Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning owners of short-term rental accommodation, defined as accommodation supplied in trade or commerce for a period of 60 days or less, to check their bunk beds or risk a hefty fine.
According to Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer, the changes - which come into effect on 21 October this year - were designed to prevent bunk bed-related injuries to children.
“Recent figures show almost 300 children present to hospital emergency departments in Queensland each year with bunk bed-related injuries,” Mr Bauer said.
“Most of these injuries are to children aged six and under, and more than half of all injuries are to children's heads.”
According to Mr Bauer, under the new regulation it will be illegal to supply or offer to supply rooms with non-compliant bunk beds, so owners as well as property agents share responsibility for safety.
“The standard covers safety aspects such as guard rails, gaps and protrusions on the bunk bed, to reduce the risk of a child rolling out of the bed or being strangled if their clothing is caught on the bed,” Mr Bauer added.
“Mandatory safety standards have been in place for bunk beds sold in Queensland since 2002, so it is particularly important to check beds bought prior to this time.
“The Office of Fair Trading has developed a guide to assist accommodation providers to manage this upcoming change, including a simple checklist covering all aspects of the mandatory safety standards.”
The maximum penalty for breaching the safety standard is $200,000 for an individual and $1.1 million for a body corporate.
For more information on the Fair Trading (Safety Standards) Regulation 2011, or a copy of the compliance guide, visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).