The use of deadly foil insulation should have been banned after an installer died in late 2009, an inquiry has been told.
Queensland’s electrical safety office should have pushed harder to ban foil insulation from the home insulation scheme after the first death, a former director says.
Two of the four young men who died under the former Rudd government’s program were electrocuted while using metal staples to secure foil sheeting.
After the first death in 2009, the Queensland electrical safety office advocated the banning of metal staples.
But then policy director Anthony Leverton says he deeply regrets that neither he or his colleagues pushed for foil to be excluded from the program.
Mr Leverton told a royal commission on Wednesday the office could have, and should have, done more to press the federal government to ban foil immediately after the first death.
“The more voices that spoke up, perhaps the more conviction we might have had but it was not our decision to make,” he told the inquiry.
Queenslander Matthew Fuller became the first installer to die under the program when he pierced a metal staple through an electrical cable while attaching foil insulation to a ceiling on October 14, 2009.
The same practice caused the death of Mitchell Sweeney, also from Queensland, on February 4, 2010.
Foil was only banned from the program five days after Mr Sweeney’s death.
The scheme was ultimately canned two weeks later, a year after it was announced.
The Sweeney family’s lawyer, Stephen Keim QC, took the unusual step of thanking Mr Leverton for the frankness of his evidence.
“I’m deeply sorry to your client,” Mr Leverton replied.
The inquiry continues.