Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dodgy sparkies?

I have been following the whole roof insulation issue with a lot of interest. It’s amazing how people can become focussed on the political arena, and miss the whole point.

Let’s think about this before we blame the government or the opposition. Even though I’m no Labour supporter, I can’t see the reason why poor old Mr Garret now suddenly is to blame for this.

Think about this. Someone threw a few peaces of roof insulation in a roof. I can appreciate that some of these “installations” were done in a hap-hazard way, and that there should have been some sort of regulatory guidelines. Did the government really pay the rebates without doing any quality control inspections? Obviously quite a few people jumped on this gravy train and abused the stimulus package without thinking about the consequences. But this is not the issue.

Here’s the issue: How on earth can someone get electrocuted just because he was in the roof with “poorly-installed foil insulation”? If the electrical wiring in the house was done according to Australian standards, how is it possible that an item can become “live” just by putting it down on the roof ceiling?

Three people were electrocuted while installing roof insulation - how is that their fault? As far as I know, they did not perform any electrical work on site - the insulation is not powered up or connected to the switchboard in any way.

This whole issue boggles my mind. No one is asking the right question here. Where are all the OSH experts? Their first question should be “how on earth can this happen? Who did the electrical work on this site?” In addition to this, why did the RCD’s (earth leakage protection) not work?

And the most daring question of all: If the inside of our roofs are this unsafe, what are we doing about it?

Blaming a minister in government is not the solution to this problem. Someone needs to have a look at the quality of electrical work, and the minster who is responsible for regulating this industry is the one who should be answering the questions. (And plenty of minsters who filled this position before him, as this is not just today’s problem.)

"It's negligent or inappropriate, slack behaviour on the part of a very tiny minority," he said.

For the minster to blame "slack" roof insulation installers is not the answer here. Were they qualified electricians who were consequently supposed to check the electrical system in the house, or were they just roof insulation installers with no specialised knowledge of electrical systems?

Why is nobody asking these questions? The press has just elevated this to another political debate without getting any facts straight. Again. The mud is being slung around, but it’s about the wrong issue.

I’ll definitely think twice before getting into my roof...

1 comment:

Boomkind said...

Perhaps they were nailing down the insulation and sent a nail through a wire?