If you live in Victoria, Australia you will have heard of Melbourne Water, as the name suggests it is responsible for much of the water assets that serve the city of Melbourne.
And you also have an opinion on the pros and cons of “tap water versus bottled water”, but this is not what this article is about. This article is about the safety philosophy of an organisation entrusted with supply and delivery of a life supporting resource such as water.
I would expect the philosophy of a public body (and their servants) responsible for life giving “water” to be beyond reproach and certainly not subject to any lackadaisical attitudes but that it not necessarily the case … but you be the judge.
Imagine you are a young woman taking your very energetic dog for some exercise … and you have decided to ride your bike with the dog running beside you. I’ve seen many people do this without incident.
Picture this woman (who happens to be a close friend of mine) riding along a “drainage pathway” … sort of an ‘overflow’ if you like that can take storm flood waters, but for the majority of time it is a quiet and very safe pathway to either walk the dog, go for a run or a ride.
But what if, as you are riding at high speed along the path it just disappears in front of your eyes?
The young woman, out taking her dog for exercise … is now heading headfirst into a concrete hole and has no way of avoiding the disaster.
Her neck and jaw hit first (see the red cross) into the hard concrete edging of a meter wide cross drain splitting her flesh and running deep grazes into her throat; her bike’s front wheel of course had plunged into the crevasse.
Trying to ‘break her fall’ was a natural instinct which lead to a fractured wrist, and her body, traveling at around twenty kilometers an hour also hit hard cracking a number of ribs and badly grazing the skin along her throat.
Blood was pouring from the gash under her jaw, her clothes now literally covered in her own blood as she dragged her damaged bike back towards the road in a vain attempt to get help.
She waved down a taxi … but one look at her at it drove away, leaving her to abandon her bike, still holding onto her lead she slowly took herself and her dog the kilometer or so back home … a shared house that she had only moved to some days earlier. The fact that she was not familiar with her surrounds in some way helped contribute to her accident, but it really wasn’t an accident, but rather it was a disaster waiting to happen.
See, if an accident can be foreseen … then it probably isn’t an accident in my opinion. Those responsible used to have an obligation under ‘common law’ to remove the hazard. You could say it is a moral obligation especially if women and children are likely to be injured unnecessarily.
Injured and upset, this young woman eventually made it to the emergency area of her local hospital. The attending doctor sent her for Xrays, stitched her jaw and dresses her abrasions.
He said “You are very lucky not to have been more seriously injured. You could have broken your neck.”
Six weeks off work as the result of an accident that could so easily have been prevented …
The cost to have put a concrete slab, or galvanised grate across the open side drain would certainly be a few thousand dollars, so why would a large public authority DECIDE NOT TO FIX THE PROBLEM when they have seen the results that their hazard has caused.
It can surely only be that safety, and in particular PUBLIC SAFETY, is not a high priority.
See, the accident happened eighteen months ago … and yet the hazard remains, awaiting it’s next unsuspecting victim. Men and women ride along this drainage pathway every day. Unfortunately some do so for the first time … and would not expect the path to disappear.
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This hazard will be rectified … I’m just very surprised that it wasn’t done within days or weeks of my friends ‘accident’.
If you know of a media contact in Melbourne who could help make a difference here and prevent some one else suffering a similar injury please let me know.
Leave a comment below or contact Melbourne Water and inquire if the hazard has been rectified.