Posts Tagged ‘risk’

Burqa On Trial 3

Dr Ali. Photo Courtesy WA News/Sharon Smith

I feel vindicated to some degree because a leading Muslim academic has come out publicly against the wearing of the burqa/niqab. (Burqa has a mesh face covering, the niqab is the one that leaves just a slit for the eyes to look out from) While some ethnic community spokespeople might claim banning the garment attacks one’s cultural habits the fact remains it is not a part of our culture and it is both offensive to many and confronting to nearly all.

As the academic, Dr Ali, clearly states, the garment signifies a mindset as much as anything else. The wearing of it is, he says, “the lingering relics of a patriarchal, misogynistic and tribal culture” and argues there is no religious obligation in the Koran for it to be worn”.

He goes on to say that several European countries have banned the wearing of the garment in public places, including the Arab nation of Syria. My argument posits that if Muslims and predominantly Muslim countries find it offensive and confronting then surely we westerners can’t be labelled racist or religionist or whatever for wanting our public places free of this aberration.

My position has always been one of asking what does this garment say about the mindset of the wearer and her husband? What about their sons and how they view our women who don’t wear such a covering? Back in their home countries they can do as they wish because I will warn my daughters against travelling there or having anything to do with those men who support this cultural habit. But here in their own country they have a right to walk the streets as free from fear of harm as possible. We have enough home grown threats and hazards without importing more.

There Are Reasons Why We Have Rules

The recent tragic loss of 10 Australians in a plane crash in west Africa underlines the old rule about not putting all your eggs in the one basket. In this case the ‘eggs’ were the entire board of Sundance Mining. This company is now effectively leaderless for however long and that will affect all the employees, their families and the towns that rely on the mining operations of Sundance. Store owners, teachers, medical providers, bus drivers and council workers servicing mining communities in various ways will all feel the repercussions of this tragedy.

Why did they all fly in the one plane? This is a ‘rule’ that all major and most minor corporations as well as governments and the military adhere to. You spread the risk. In this case the corporate jet used by the big boss was incapable of landing at the airstrip of the mining project in the Congo they were going to see. Apparently the only suitable aircraft available in the Cameroons from where they departed was the CASA 212 that crashed, killing all on board as far as we know at this time. So everybody got on the one plane and the end result is a leaderless corporation and a dozen grief stricken families.

There is also an insurance company or two somewhere that is girding its loins for the massive payouts. No doubt these executives and the plane itself were heavily insured and already some loss adjuster is scrabbling for reasons to deny as many claims as they can. That is afterall what insurance companies really do, take your money and hope they can wriggle away if you ever make a claim.

So once again we have a situation where a decision that might have seemed like a good idea at the time has turned sour. The thing is, despite the fact nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition, it happened. Nobody on that plane expected to end up dead before arriving at their destination either but  sadly that happened. There are reasons why we have rules such as not letting the entire board of a corporation fly in the same aircraft. There are reasons why we impose restrictions and limits on people and they are usually because somewhere in history tragedy has occurred when these limits and restraints are ignored. Not every time, but often enough.

Thin Or Thick Sausages, Senhor?

An American worker at a sausage factory was sucked into a sausage machine while he was cleaning it. Somehow the machine switched on and sucked him in headfirst as far as his shoulders. He was released and taken to hospital as a precaution but claimed he was fine. All jokes aside, it goes to show how accidents in the workplace can happen, very quickly and all too often, fatally.

In Spain a matador was gored by a bull the other weekend, an occupational hazard when taking part in the first part of the sausage making process, no doubt. While the bull might end up in a Spanish sausage factory, the difference between the two incidents (apart from being on different continents and a whole host of other dissimilarities) is the acceptance of risk at play with each occupation.

The matador and his crew (he is but one of several ‘dors out there at the bullfight) are aware that what they do has inherent risks. They and the crowd paying to watch are all too well aware of the reality that someone might get hurt, even killed… other than the bull. Not so the sausage maker. He arrives for work knowing all the cows and bulls he will come in contact with are dead, well and truly. Mind you, the machinery used to make sausages on an industrial scale is as potentially lethal as any enraged bull.

Some jobs have obvious hazards and inherent risks, some jobs are not so apparently dangerous. The trick to staying safe is to be able to know which is which and to remain alert to the potential for harm even when the sausage machine is switched off or the bull is not in the ring yet.

Managing Safety Is A Personal Matter

Perry Gamsby

Enjoy the blog posts here. They are an eclectic collection of opinions, events, experiences and sadly a few tragedies. All are true and have happened to someone, somewhere. Just about all of them were avoidable.  Visit every page on the site but come back here regularly as there will always be something new to read and hopefully learn from. Remember, few things in life are ever actually fatal.

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