The Australian government has ordered a huge safety audit on tens of thousands of homes which have received foil-covered insulation under a rebate scheme.
At least four installers have been killed since the Government began offering a $1,200 rebate to people who want to insulate their homes, a body of electricians say.
AdvertisementIn the most recent incident, a 25-year-old contractor was electrocuted in the roof of a home at Millaa Millaa in far north Queensland last week.
There are reports that improperly installed foil insulation can conduct electricity from mains cables, effectively making the whole roof cavity of a house 'live'.
The insulation program was suspended by the Federal Government yesterday.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett says an interim audit of around 400 homes has found that up to a dozen may be dangerous.
Tens of thousands of homes will now have to be checked nationwide, with the Government to pick up the bill, estimated to cost up to $50 million.
Mr. Garrett told The Australian that licensed electricians will check households insulated with foil.
Mr Garrett also confirmed that installers who had not complied with program guidelines would be deregistered and their details kept on a "name and shame" register.
"In order to ensure this is rolled out as quickly as possible the program for inspections will roll out in two ways," Mr Garrett said.
"In the first instance a householder will be able to engage a licensed electrician to conduct a safety inspection, and where necessary, rectification work related to the installation of foil insulation under the Home Insulation Program.
"This will ensure that householders will not be out of pocket for any inspection or rectification works.
"The licensed electrician will be able to seek reimbursement of the costs from the Commonwealth."
Before the Government rolled out its Home Insulation Program, foil insulation was mostly used in the construction of new homes.
But the $1,200 government rebate has seen a spike in the number of existing homes being retro-fitted with the metallic sheeting.