Inquiry to probe insulation scheme training
AN INQUEST into the death of a young Rockhampton worker, killed while implementing the disastrous home insulation scheme, will look into why Australia had contrasting safety standards to other countries and whether adequate training was provided.
Rueben Kelly Barnes died while installing insulation at a Stanwell home, south of Rockhampton, in 2009.
The 16-year-old was working for Arrow Property Maintenance Pty Ltd when he was electrocuted installing fibreglass insulation.
An inquest into Ruben's death will also investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Mitchell Scott Sweeney and Matthew James Fuller, who also died during the roll-out of the Rudd Government's home insulation program.
Mitchell, 22, was electrocuted installing insulation in North Queensland in February 2010.
Matthew, 25, died in Brisbane in October 2009.
At a pre-inquest hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday, counsel assisting the coroner Ralph Devlin outlined seven key issues to be addressed during the inquest.
State Coroner Michael Barnes will look into the registration of Arrow Property Management, Titan Insulations and Vision and Networking, which contracted the victims, as installers under the home insulation program.
The inquest will also investigate why metal staples were allowed to be used in Australia during the fatal insulations when New Zealand banned them in 2007.
Mr Devlin also recommended Mr Barnes investigate the training, supervision and induction provided to the victims and the State and Federal Governments response to the deaths.
Mr Devlin said some of the issues the governments and victims' families - including Ruben's siblings and father - had put forward to be investigated were either too broad or had already been investigated.
It was submitted workplace health and safety officers, who investigated each of the deaths, would be called to give evidence alongside the victims' co-workers.
Industry leaders, including from Master Builders, could also be called to give evidence.
Mr Devlin said there was still more material to be gathered before the inquest.
"There is quite a bit of work in this matter and it will have to be done fairly quickly," he said.
Counsel for the Commonwealth Attorney-General submitted they supported the issues to be addressed and would co-operate fully with the coroner.
Lawyers representing the Fuller family requested the coroner also look at what guidance was given to the victims' supervisors about the inherent dangers.
At the time of Ruben's death it was reported his two co-workers tried to revive him while the homeowner rushed to disconnect the power from the house.
Mr Barnes set the inquest down for March 11.