Rueben Barnes died while installing insulation in 2009.

Rueben Barnes died while installing insulation in 2009. Photo: Supplied/The Chronicle

A grieving father hopes the royal commission into Labor’s bungled home insulation program will spare other families the pain he has endured.

The program has been blamed for the deaths of four installers, including three in Queensland, as well as extensive property damage.

The commission, to be headed by Brisbane lawyer Ian Hanger, QC, will begin preliminary hearings in Brisbane on December 23.

Lawyer Bill Potts is representing Murray Barnes, the father of 16-year-old installer Rueben Barnes who was electrocuted while installing batts in the ceiling cavity of a house at Stanwell in Queensland.

Rueben had only started working with his insulation company employer three weeks earlier. He had no training and his only safety equipment was sun screen, Mr Potts said.

He said Mr Barnes wanted the former government to take responsibility for its actions.

‘‘He simply wants to know what the former prime minister [Kevin Rudd] and former minister [Peter Garrett] knew and when they knew it, and more particularly if they had warnings, why did they not act upon them?’’ Mr Potts said.

‘‘He also hopes this will prevent other young men needlessly butchered by botched programs.’’

Mr Potts said the royal commission was not just about inquiring into the deaths of the installers, ‘‘but the circumstances that surrounded the deaths, the government decisions, the ministerial input’’.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched the $2.8 billion ‘‘pink batts’’ scheme in 2008 to inject cash into the economy during the global financial crisis - and it ran until 2010.

In July, a Queensland coroner found the rushed roll-out of the scheme was a significant factor in the deaths of Queensland batt installers Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney, 22, and Matthew Fuller, 25.

The lawyer representing the Sweeney family says Mitchell's death could have been prevented had his employer taken simple, inexpensive safety measures.

Mitchell was working for Titan Insulation when he was electrocuted in February 2010 while installing foil insulation using metal staples at Millaa Millaa, in far north Queensland.

His parents also don’t want to see another family go through what they have.

''It is important that the commission looks at the role of employers in the implementation of the scheme,'' Maurice Blackburn principal Peter Koutsoukis said in a statement on Friday.

''There were significant failures on the part of his employer to ensure he was operating in a safe work environment.''

Titan Insulation was fined $100,000 for unsafe practices in 2011.

In NSW, 19-year-old Marcus Wilson, died on his first day on the job after suffering heat stroke.

The coroner cited ‘‘inadequate’’ training and ‘‘lax’’ supervision as factors in the tragedies.

The royal commission will report back to the government by June.

Anyone who wishes to appear before the commission as a witness must apply by 4pm (AEDT) December 18.

Further information is available at www.homeinsulationroyalcommission.gov.au.

Deaths arising from Labor’s home insulation scheme:

  • October 14, 2009: Matthew Fuller, 25, is electrocuted laying insulation sheeting in the ceiling cavity of a house in Meadowbrook (Qld). He had started work with company 12 days earlier.
  • November 18, 2009: Rueben Barnes, 16, electrocuted laying batts in the ceiling cavity of a house at Stanwell (Qld). He had started with the company 21 days earlier.
  • November 21, 2009: Marcus Wilson, 19, dies from hyperthermia complications after installing batts in a St Clair (NSW) home in 40 degree heat.
  • February 4, 2010: Mitchell Sweeney, 22, is electrocuted laying insulation sheeting in the ceiling cavity of a home at Millaa Millaa (Qld). He had started at a new company a week earlier.

- AAP with Marissa Calligeros