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    When oh when will we ever learn.

    First and foremost I must take a moment to pay my respects to the sad loss of Mabruk Akraqm, who at the age of just 26 years of age fell to his death in the most horrific of circumstances yesterday. A young, hard working man by all accounts who was just trying to do his job. He had his whole life ahead of him and leaves behind a loving young family. A tragedy in every sense of the word.

    Being a sensitive man, there is a part of me that becomes genuinely affected by such news. It was such a busy day yesterday that I didn’t really have time to check the news, social media etc. But upon hearing of the incident early this morning, I took some time to have a look into what had happened. It left me momentarily in a state of shock, followed by both feelings of sadness and extreme frustration. Sadness at the loss of one so young, and frustration and the sheer senselessness of it all. A tragedy one would say rather easily avoided. I am sure many of you felt exactly the same.

    My discussion today will be two fold. First and foremost, the words that find themselves on everyone’s lips today are HEALTH AND SAFETY. Sorry to say it, but this concept is rarely enforced on this island, the result being several tragedies per year happening through accidents at work. Some people may say that such low numbers do not indicate a critical scenario in what is a thriving industry and work force. However, if you are one of those people, I dare you to say that the grieving widow of Mabruk Akraqm, or anyone else who has endured a death in a similar such work related accident. Whether one life or a thousand, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a complete waste of life and totally avoidable.

    And that is the extremely frustrating part. That it is just a matter of lazy practices, revenue saving, complete ignorance, underwhelming enforcement and corner cutting that result in these tragedies. So, who is responsible for this? MEPA? They are the ones tasked with issuing licenses for construction companies in Malta. And one would assume that they would be tasked with the responsibility for regulating the sector also.

    I am not going to lie my ass off and pretend that I am even remotely up to speed when it comes to the legal and regulatory infrastructure for the construction sector. It’s not the case. So I won’t stay passing judgement on whether the government is failing in their duties here. You can judge and form your own opinions. What I can say however, is something is not as it should be. For the simple reason that I see and hear stories of unsafe work practices on an almost daily basis.

    What about individual construction companies/contractors? Are they accountable? It’s difficult to label everyone with the same brush. I am sure that there are several examples, locally, of this being taken very seriously. Unfortunately, there are also several examples of people still using what I like to refer to as the “old school method” of construction. No safety hats, harnessing, and quite simply very little safety procedures at all. In my opinion, anyone one in the construction business who is responsible for persons under their employ has an obligation to make sure that they are using the very latest techniques and equipment to ensure the safety of their workers. Sadly this often does not occur.

    In general, while it would be easy to just blame the authorities for not having vigilant testing via regular inspections of health and safety practices, I am not sure it is as simple as that. Both regulators and employers must be held accountable and responsible and it is pretty much as simple as that. Until both entities accept that, and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe working environment, I am afraid the next tragedy will always be just around the corner.

    The second point I would like to raise, and say my piece on in regards to this horrible tragedy, is persons who’s first reaction when becoming a witness to events, is to grab their mobile phone and record it. Subsequently then feeling the need to share said recording with both news agencies and via social media. You horribly demented persons you.

    This sort of human trait I just do not understand. It is very similar to slowing down at the scene of a horrible accident so you can get a snap shot or video recording of something gruesome. Why? Why?What are you hoping to achieve? Fame, clicks, likes or making a name for yourself? I just can’t think of any other reason why.

    I understand we live in a new social media orientated world. I’m also aware that these days people film and photograph most everything. I am not naive and even partake myself from time to time. But surely there are limits to everything don’t you think?

    A message for those of said inclination, when you see someone clinging for dear life, high above the earth, possibly in the very last moments of their life, why not use your phone for something useful like calling for help instead of whipping it out to film you twisted piece of sociatal excrement. My faith in humanity continues to fade…



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