Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blaming the right people for insulation problems

Today The Australian asked a simple question. When four people are killed installing insulation that is subsidised by the Government who is at fault?

My usual way of seeing the world is complex and layered so ordinarily I'd say something like "thats not really a simple question" and deliver a long, convoluted arguement but in this cases the question really is simple, as is the answer - the installers and the company that employed them.

No government minister climbed into a roof and laid insulation. No government minister held a gun to the head of a worker and made them climb the ladder either. On the other hand, workers that were given the opportunity to train and had standards to work to did not apply that training or standards. Employers did nothing to ensure that the training was sufficient or that industry standards were being followed.

Given that I generally assume that a company is better able to deal with the complex issues of technical integrity and OHS I would tend to lay most of the responsibility with the employer.

But I am at a loss to understand just what anyone really expected the government to do. After all government recently offered incentives to by new cars - do we hold them responsible for Prius braking problems? Government offer a first home owners grant - do we hold them responsible for dodgy builders?

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