Wednesday, 24 November 2010

rest in peace

so i'm going to try to do a post about the pike river tragedy, not sure that there is much to say other than some random thoughts. of course, my condolences to the families of those who have died, and to the wider community who are now suffering directly or indirectly from these events. thoughts also for the rescue workers and the whole rescue & response teams from all agencies. what a terrible end to a very difficult week for them.

there are plenty of questions to be asked, and i hope they do get asked and answered. there are going to be a number of inquiries, it appears. i think of all those people over the years who have complained about occupational safety & health procedures, the sorts that complain about it all being too bureaucratic, about how we're now so averse to taking risk, about how silly it all is to have to follow these many mundane procedures, what a wasteful cost it is to business. i was involved in writing a manual which was sold to clients to inform them of their legal requirements, back in the 1990s, and i've heard all of these types of complaints from back then. how i hope those people will shut up now. actually they should have shut up a long time ago, because we already lose far too many people in workplace accidents.

how difficult it must have been to break the news to the families of the miners, and then to have to front up to the international media & break the news to a worldwide audience. i'm hoping that superintendent knowles and peter whittall both have strong support around them right now.

i wrote on my own blog a couple of days ago about how frustrating i've been finding the tv coverage of this, and it was equally frustrating today. and yet, it must also be pretty tough to be the one who has to read out the terrible news, and ask the questions, while keeping a lid on your own feelings of grief. many of these reporters, having spent the week on the west coast, will have developed a strong sense of affinity to the community there, and i'd like to acknowledge the difficulty of the work they had to do tonight.

over the next few days, the overwhelming need to blame someone will be strong. as the coverage moves away from the grief to the causes of this accident, i can only hope that there will be some common sense applied & that people will wait for the results of independent investigations. i too believe in the need for accountability (pretty strongly, in fact), but want that accountability to be based on facts.

if you can, spare a thought tonight for the 345 people who have died as a result of a stampede at a festival in cambodia. another nation also grieves the loss of its citizens.


AnneE said...

Thank you for this. Yes, I've often heard people complaining about OSH. NZ'z rates of workplace deaths and injuries are shameful. Ironically, mining has recently had a better record than other industries such as farming or building. But this is such a massive blow to a small community...I keep thinking about the mother of the 17-year-old on his first day down the mine.

Anonymous said...

My condolences go out to the people affected by the Pike River tragedy... and OMG, about the mother of that 17 year old? OMG I saw that interview between her and Campbell, and wow, that poor lady. She was so strong, and on the other hand very... (It's a weird word to use, but:) human about her pain.