The Key WHS Lessons From the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission

A key lesson for WHS professionals which came out of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program is that where there are ongoing concerns about safety – particularly as a result of commercial pressures – these concerns should be escalated to senior management and, in some cases, the Board, according to an international law firm.

"In business, there will often be tensions between the need to meet commercial objectives and achieving a desirable approach to safety," said Aaron Anderson, Workplace Health Safety and Security partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia.

“It may not always be within the power or authority of safety professionals to ensure the right decisions are made,” he said.

“However, one of the lessons from the tragic outcomes of the program with the loss of four lives is the importance of ensuring change management incorporates an appropriate reassessment of risk.”

Anderson, who acted for two families who lost a family member while performing insulation work as part of the program, observed that the Commission found that the Commonwealth sacrificed planning for speed as there was a perceived immutable start date for the program of 1 July 2009.

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