Fine line between freak accident and negligence


  • Letters
  • Monday, 28 Sep 2020

IN the past few days, a few accidents involving construction sites and construction equipment have taken place. Thankfully, the people involved managed to narrowly escape with their lives. However, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is appalled that these accidents even happened in the first place.

Every time there is an accident, we ask why it happened. Was it a freak accident or negligence? If it was negligence, then negligence on whose part? Was it the developer, the contractors, construction workers; was it the authorities themselves?

A thorough investigation must be conducted by the authorities to ascertain the cause of all those accidents.

Did the developer hire the cheapest contractors without checking credentials and work ethics? Did contractors hire the cheapest labour they could find, meaning unskilled foreign workers? Did the contractors skimp on building materials to cut costs?

Perhaps the equipment used at the construction sites was no longer fit for use or failing and, thus, dangerous?

Perhaps the construction workers were not provided with proper personal protection equipment, or they were but the supervisor did not enforce actually using it? Perhaps there was no supervisor at the worksite?

One thing is for sure, current policies and the actions taken by relevant authorities when it comes to accidents in the construction industry are just not deterrent enough. And so, history keeps repeating itself.

We implore the authorities, as we have many times before, to take serious action against the parties responsible in the recent accidents. If the current laws do not allow the authorities to be as strict as they need to be, then the laws should be amended.

MOHIDEEN ABDUL KADER

President, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
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