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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Metal staples ban will improve insulation safety

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    Metal staples ban will improve insulation safety

    The Bligh Government has banned the use of metal staples and other forms of conductive fasteners on ceiling insulation as part of a range of measures to improve safety for ceiling insulation installers and householders.

    Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick has issued a ministerial notice under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 to prohibit the use of metal fastenings for ceiling insulation.

    The ban takes effect from today.

    Mr Dick said the government was implementing several safety measures in response to growing concerns about the safe installation of foil ceiling insulation.

    An installer was electrocuted and a co-worker was seriously injured while installing foil insulation on Brisbane’s southside on October 14. Initial reports indicate that while foil insulation was being installed, a metal staple pierced a live electrical cable.

    “This tragic incident has highlighted the electrical safety risks associated with the installation of conductive foil ceiling insulation,” Mr Dick said.

    “As a result of this incident, I have decided to introduce mandatory provisions that will make the industry safer.

    “I have also spoken with Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to discuss the issues that have emerged in recent times about the safety of ceiling insulation.

    “The measures we are taking complement the safety initiatives that the Federal Government is introducing from today for its Home Insulation Scheme.

    “No other Queenslanders should have to endure the tragedy that has befallen the young installer and his family.

    “The incident is currently the subject of an investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office, which may recommend further actions to make the industry safer.

    “If that is the case, I will not hesitate to implement any recommendations that will ensure workers within this industry are safe.

    “We are keeping a close watch on this issue and if any householders have any concerns about dodgy operators or the quality of the work they have received, they can contact the Office of Fair Trading (13 13 04), the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland infoline for safety matters (1300 362 320) or the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Scheme hotline (1800 808 571).”

    The ministerial notice means that installers will have to use nylon or plastic fasteners (which are already in use within the industry), glue or tape to fix foil insulation in ceilings.

    As well as banning metal fasteners, the notice also:
    • forces insulation installers to comply with the Wiring Rules with respect to the placement of any type of insulation near recessed downlights
    • makes electrical safety risk assessment training mandatory for all installers
    • forces installers to document their on-site electrical safety risk assessments and keep a record for five years.

    “The actions of both the Queensland and Australian governments underline our commitment to ensuring the highest standards of safety for workers,” Mr Dick said.

    More than 18,000 homes in Queensland have had foil insulation installed since the Commonwealth Home Insulation Program started earlier this year.

    Media contact: Minister’s Office 3239 3487 or 3224 7481