The Brady Bunch
Welcome to the Australian Hinstitute of Heinrich and Skinner fake newsletter for October 2020. This special edition coincides with National Safe Work Month and commemorates several notorious disasters, which include Aberfan in South Wales and the West Gate Bridge collapse and Dreamworld theme park tragedy in Australia.
The Aberfan disaster on 21st October 1966 resulted in the deaths of 116 children and 28 adults and wiped out a generation. Many more suffered physical injuries, which were superficial compared to psychological damage and it was later described as a mistake that cost a village its children. The bitter aftermath was a saga of cruelty and indignity. Surviving infants had no childhood and were deprived of a formal education. Divorce rates, nervous breakdowns and premature deaths increased through alcoholism and use of anti-depressants. Pastoral care was stigmatised and viewed with stoic suspicion. Families became embroiled in a bitter legal battle to obtain money for their children’s gravestones. Meanwhile, the disaster fund was plundered by the government to cover the cost of removing the remaining slag heaps. It was proposed that compensation claims be limited via proof of emotional proximity. The report following the prolonged tribunal of inquiry was unsparing and concluded…….The disaster was a terrifying tale of bungling ineptitude and blame rests with the National Coal Board. There were no criminal charges and none of its employees were demoted or lost their jobs.
Just before lunch on 15th October 1970 during construction of the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, the enormous structure began to creak and groan followed by a discomforting cacophony of screeching metal and pinging steel. A squall of dust flakes peeled from its weathered steel girders, which acquired a peculiar caerulean blue tinge under the mounting stress and metal fatigue. About 2000 tons of concrete and steel plummeted into the Yarra River and crushed several occupied project construction sheds and crib rooms beneath the span. An ominous rumbling sound rolled across the estuarine mudflats followed by a foreboding wail of sirens. The crash of mangled metal was heard several kilometres away and rocked the foundations of nearby buildings. Survivors clambered from the muddy waters and those that were able to talk and walk began searching and calling out for their colleagues. It was time to comfort the crippled, the wounded and the maimed and let the grim reaper count the dead. A memorial plaque was paid for and erected by bridge workers and unveiled on the 15th October 1978 in honour of their deceased colleagues who left for work one morning and never made it home.
A royal commission directed extensive criticism towards the fractious, antagonistic and often hostile relationships between a didactic Freeman Fox and Partners and the Lower Yarra Crossing Authority and several principal contractors. This was compounded by revoking the World Services and Constructions steel bridge works contract and its subsequent reallocation to John Holland (Constructions). Indeed, relationships are the foundation of accomplishment and the indeterminate roles and responsibilities had a resounding impact on industrial relations, especially on the west side of the span. The dreadful morale with ineffective leadership left cohorts of labourers wandering aimlessly across the site.
Almost five decades later a tyranny of bureaucracy prevails across most construction projects, which includes a kentledge of red tape supplemented by indoctrinating inductions and a proliferation of personal protective equipment in an otiose attempt to demonstrate due diligence. The carousel of culpability with its brutal gotcha culture cannot secure the health and safety of people at work. It has created escalating psychosocial risks, which are exacerbated by a zero harm fatwa with its unhealthy and exasperating pursuit of perfection. This may be a significant contributory factor in the extraordinary suicide rate amongst young construction workers in Queensland…..All I am surrounded by is fear and dead men.
On 25th October 2016 a tragic incident on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at the Ardent Leisure Dreamworld amusement park near Queensland’s Gold Coast, claimed the lives of four people. A circular raft containing six passengers collided with an empty vessel and flipped upwards and capsized as it approached the disembarking dock. Following the impact, four adult occupants suffered fatal injuries and two adolescents miraculously survived the horrific ordeal. Emergency services including paramedics rushed to the scene and the entire theme park was eventually evacuated and closed. Families, close friends and witnesses were left distraught and several noble Red Cross volunteers provided assistance and counselling. The ride and its immediate environs were declared a crime scene pending further investigations via the police and other regulatory authorities and an extensive coronial inquest followed.
During the aftermath disturbing allegations emerged regarding operation and maintenance of equipment, which forced the organisation to defend its safety performance and corporate reputation. No major nonconformance issues were identified during a recent mandatory safety inspection and at the time of the incident the theme park was allegedly compliant with statutory registration and certification requirements. Dreamworld reiterated that the safety of guests, staff and wildlife was a core value of its business and…..Rides and slides are checked daily by its experienced team before the theme park opens. This was reinforced via a statement from the theme park’s independent auditor who claimed its annual audits demonstrated a continuous improvement in the management of safety.
An antediluvian coronial inquest was provocatively painful for the bereaved families and merely an adversarial wolf in inquisitorial sheep’s clothing. Ardent Leisure received excoriating criticism from the coroner although legislation prevents delivering an outcome of unlawful killing to a criminal standard. It was effectively an open verdict and the company was merely referred to Queensland’s Office of Industrial Relations for potential breaches of work, health and safety legislation. Almost four years later in Southport magistrates court Ardent Leisure pleaded guilty to several charges and received fines amounting to $3.6million. Meanwhile, the state government provided the organisation with a $70 million assistance package, which included a $3 million grant to ensure the theme park can reopen amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It leaves the bereaved families and general public pondering and wondering just whose reputations and what assets are being protected.
During October 2020, our fellowship or sectarian cult is embarking on an unprecedented recruitment crusade, which will enable aspiring health and safety evangelists and proselytes to join the flock of indoctrinated SHEeple and drink its brand of Kool Aid. Nurse Mildred Ratched (AO, ChOHSP) enthusiastically proclaimed that the campaign……..provides a unique opportunity to obtain membership of an exclusive kleptocratic kakistocracy. Readers are merely required to allocate a name to several of the psychopaths, sociopaths or irascible narcissists in the collage above. The winner will receive free membership for one year with substantial discounts for corporate events and the runner up will receive an honorary life membership. Successful participants will be announced at the next national Hillsong convention on 18th May 2021 and…..The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.