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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Insulation program safety standards to get a further boost

Media release
30 November 2009
PG/381

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Every person installing insulation under the Government’s Home Insulation Program will soon be required to meet boosted training or minimum skill requirements, Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced today on the eve of a host of new householder and installer safety measures commencing.

Mr Garrett said following a recent ban on the use of metal staples for foil insulation and a mandatory requirement that down light covers be installed, the changes announced on November 1 and commencing on Tuesday would further boost program safety and put greater scrutiny on insulation installers registered under the program.

From Tuesday the program will include:

In addition, revised training materials developed in consultation with industry skills councils to improve coverage of electrical and other safety risks will be released today.

“There is no room in this program for people that aren’t prepared to abide by the rules and who put the safety of their employees or householders at risk.

“We have made clear from the beginning that health and safety is paramount. From the outset we have required that every person involved in the installation of insulation has Occupational Health and Safety training and meets minimum competency requirements or be supervised by someone who does.

“Every registered installer has an obligation to ensure the safety of their employees and compliance with all relevant occupational health and safety requirements. Anyone seeking to shirk their responsibilities has no place in this program.

“We have introduced the nation’s first national training program for insulation installers and our audit and compliance team have been in the field checking the ceilings of almost 6000 homes to date, with a further 5000 expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Now we intend to takeit a step further, with a new requirement that every person involved in the installation of insulation under the program receives formal training or has other minimum skill standards.”

Mr Garrett said he had commenced urgent consultations with the industry, unions and other key groups to get the new training requirements in place.

“The fact is that more than 700,000 households have benefited from this program and can look forward to significant savings on their heating and cooling costs now and into the future.

“This program is helping households reduce their impact on the environment while supporting and creating jobs at a critical time.

“However, there have been some examples of dodgy work practices as well as some tragic incidents that have taken place and which remain under investigation.

“While we have already boosted safety standards under this program, taking requirements beyond those set in the Australian Standards and the Building Code, we believe that mandatory training or minimum skill requirements combined with formal risk assessments and enhanced training materials is now the best way to ensure we maximise safety for householders and installers.

Mr Garrett said the Government was also making changes to its audit and compliance program to ensure that the process to kick dodgy installers off the register was sped up.

“With revised terms and conditions allowing naming and shaming of deregistered installers, the industry is well and truly on notice — break the rules and you can expect swift, decisive and public action aside from any potential legal consequences you may face.”

Commonwealth of Australia