Friday, January 22, 2010

Dragon boat tragedy - Casual attitude cost lives

Take safety seriously

The dragon boat tragedy in which six youngsters lost their lives was indeed a sad day for the nation. It was a tragedy that should not have occurred in the first place. We understand the agony the families are undergoing and we deeply sympathesise with them especially the parents of the deceased.

It is the third in a series of such mishaps over a period of months.The first was the bridge tragedy in Kampar,Perak followed by the express bus tragedy in Ipoh.Besides these there are numerous such mishaps on a smaller scales including the numerous fatal road accidents and grievous industrial accidents that occur daily without fail.

The common factor that underlies these accidents is the unprofessional and a casual attitude of Malaysians to established safety rules that govern the various organised activities. It is extremely disturbing that Malaysians in general do not take recommended safety rules seriously because they feel such tragedies are exceptions to the rule as they rarely occur .The attitude “It will occur to others not me” is strongly prevalent among Malaysians giving them a false sense of confidence.

Like other tragedies before, the dragon boat mishap too has created so much finger-pointing as to who is to be blamed. As usual nobody will take responsibility for the incident and after a period of hoo-ha and some compensation is paid everything will cool down and we allow the healing effects of time to take its course. The real cause of the tragedy and the culprits responsible will remain a mystery.

Only after the tragedy we are told the new venue chosen for the race is not suitable as it has strong undercurrents and heavy traffic. Why in the first place was the venue selected when it was unsuitable? Were any experts consulted on the suitability before selecting the venue?

Another factor that is of concern is that some of the participants and the supervising teacher did not know swimming. How can one be allowed to participate in any water sports without adequate knowledge and experience in swimming? Wouldn’t it be proper to include swimming as a criteria for participating in such water sports?

Furthermore some of the participants did not wear life jackets. While life jackets do not guarantee absolute safety, they are the minimum requirement for those involved in water sports. The other disturbing fact was that no proper arrangements were in place to deal with any eventualities that may occur at sea. There was no rescue team on standby to deal with any emergencies if and when they occur.

The dragon boat tragedy must be used as lesson for all to adhere strictly to all safety measures that are stipulated for all activities in schools. Schools must ensure that clear cut rules are there in place and the pupils must be made to adhere to them without fail. Serious attention must be paid to these rules and anyone who breaches them must be severely reprimanded to deter others from doing so.

Mistakes and accidents are inevitable and they do occur despite the most stringent precautionary measures but they must be kept to a minimum by carefully and intentionally adhering to all safety regulations at all times however safe the activity may appear to be. It is equally important is to use such mistakes and failures as lessons to prevent recurrence of similar accidents in the future. What is really disheartening is that we not only don’t seem to be learning from our mistakes but don’t seem to be even bothered to do so.

Dr.Chris Anthony

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't stop posting such articles. I like to read blogs like this. BTW add some pics :)

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