Risk assessment early in development of residential storage battery standard

Australia’s Royal Commission into Home Insulation program (HIP) seemed to have had little long-term impact beyond the closing of the environmental subsidy scheme and political attacks.  However, controversial environment reporter, Graham Lloyd, in an article in The Australian on 11 July 2017 (only available through paywall), has identified a HIP legacy as causing restrictions on the installation of residential batter storage.

Lloyd writes

“Final draft recommendations include a ban on in-house battery banks and are designed to avoid a repeat of the pink batts debacle in which a well-intentioned environmental initiative proved deadly.”

During the Home Insulation Program, several young workers died whilst installing insulation products in domestic roof spaces but Lloyd is probably referring to a spate of house fires linked to the installation of foil insulation using metal staples.

Lloyd writes that draft Australian Standards for residential storage batteries are requiring a room, separate from the house, for these batteries in case the batteries overheat.

Regardless of the technical arguments, the reported situation is a positive development in risk assessment whereby the future risks of a new product are being considered in the early regulatory processes and on a national basis.  Such considerations were omitted or weakened in the development of the Home Insulation Program.

Kevin Jones

Categories consultation, domestic, fire, innovation, OHS, politics, research, safety, technology

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