Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Cameron Dick
Tougher safety measures for foil ceiling insulation
The Bligh Government has introduced tough new mandatory safety measures to minimise the risks associated with electrically conductive foil ceiling insulation.
Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick today issued a Ministerial Notice under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 that requires insulation installers to arrange an inspection by a licensed electrical contractor before foil insulation is installed in a ceiling.
"Installers must also ensure safety switches are installed on all circuits in the ceiling space before work begins," Mr Dick said.
"Foil insulation must be marked and separated from any wiring that cannot be protected by a safety switch.
"I decided to issue the notice on the advice of the Electrical Safety Office, Queensland's independent electrical safety regulator.
"The notice relates specifically to electrically conductive foil ceiling insulation products other than silver batts, to further strengthen the regulatory safet y measures that were implemented in Queensland in November last year."
Mr Dick said the Electrical Safety Office had advised that there was a large stockpile of foil insulation products in Queensland and this surplus stock could be sold legally at discounted prices and installed outside any new federal scheme.
"The Queensland Government is concerned that these foil products could be rushed into the marketplace and exacerbate any electrical risks that already exist," he said.
"The Electrical Safety Office is especially concerned that there is a high likelihood of these foil insulation materials being used in ceiling spaces of homes, leaving a legacy of electrical risk.
"The Electrical Safety Office has previously issued electrical safety alerts advising that installation defects, vermin damage, the natural ageing of electrical cables and home maintenance activities, can result in the electrification of foil insulation over time.
"If hom eowners choose foil ceiling insulation products, the latest Ministerial Notice will ensure the strongest possible precautions are in place for the safety of workers and householders - both now and in the future."
Mr Dick said the notice applied from today in Queensland, irrespective of any requirements or conditions to be imposed through the Australian Government's yet-to-commence Household Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme.
"Last month, the Federal Government foreshadowed the introduction of a strengthened compliance regime in conjunction with state and territory occupational health and safety and fair trading authorities," he said.
"This latest notice will complement any new compliance regime and provides a clear regulatory framework necessary to address this important safety issue."
Mr Dick said investigations by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office into the deaths of three insulation installers since last Oct ober were continuing.
"Inspectors are doing everything within their power to expedite these matters, but not at the expense of carrying out thorough investigations which will get to the bottom of what happened in each case and find out whether there were any breaches of Queensland's safety legislation."
Householders, insulation installers, electrical contractors and other tradespeople wanting more information about the Ministerial Notice can visit the Electrical Safety Office's website at www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au or call 1300 650 662.