05:39 pm, Friday 25 June, 2010
Insulation installers and industry groups have raised concerns that the people tasked by the Federal Government to conduct safety inspections are not properly trained.
Around 200,000 affected homes are currently being looked into by Government inspectors under the botched insulation installation scheme amid safety and fraud issues.
Around half of the 50,000 homes installed with foil insulation had been inspected.
According to National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) CEO James Tinslay, tight restrictions have been set up to ensure the workplace deaths under the discontinued insulation program will not be repeated.
“NECA has been working closely with the department to develop safe work procedures to ensure the safety of both workers and the householders,” Mr Tinslay said.
“It could be that there might be a couple of months added to that. NECA wouldn’t see that as a major issue because we know the program will be carried out correctly and we’re very happy with the procedures that have been put in place.”
However, Mr Tinslay is not as sure about the inspections being conducted, saying his group has reported apparently sloppy work by some inspectors.
“I have heard of a couple of instances where the people who were inspecting the bulk insulation didn’t meet the expectations that we would have of somebody competent to undertake the inspection,” he said.
“That is a worry; it was a few months ago and these have been passed on to the department.”
This concern was echoed by a cellulose insulation manufacturers’ group, stating that many inspectors do not have extensive experience with cellulose insulation. It said problems were often reported about the product when there are none.
The Assisting Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, allays the fears on the inspection issue.
He said he is optimistic the inspections will be conducted professionally.
“We’ve done, to the best of our capacity, the work to consult with the industry using an expert advisory panel to devise the training program for inspectors to carry out the inspection work that’s been going on for some period of time now,” he said.
“I haven’t seen a shred of evidence to suggest that inappropriate results are being recorded.”
The Federal Opposition has raised concerns due to the refusal of the Government to release the program’s results.
According to Environment spokesman Greg Hunt, the numbers for defects and dangerous roofs have been withheld from the public.
“That is rightly something to which they should have access,” he said.
“The program on its current rate would take seven years to inspect every home done in seven months under the home insulation program.”