Vox Populi – Letter to Editor: Public accountability and safety standards

 I REFER to the recent drowning incidents during the triathlon in Port Dickson. We understand that an inquiry is under way.

Many questions emerge from these incidents. Were safety guidelines followed? Were efforts made to obtain necessary expertise from external sources since every agency cannot be expected to have it in-house?

In this instance, did the organisers obtain assistance from, say, the Life Saving Society of Malaysia or equivalent body?

Did they have a well-documented standard operating procedure for participant screening and advice, a dynamic risk (including weather, site) assessment, adequate ratio of lifeguards on duty, an emergency action plan, a communication strategy, practice drill, etc.

It is not difficult to search and find information and expertise in this digital age. A quick search for “triathlon safety” shows multiple sites with public domain guidelines.

It is not tenable for organisers to testify later that they were not aware of these guidelines (since these are available literally at their fingertips) or did not have the expertise.

The fact that organisers obtain consent from participants for a disclaimer for liability in case of injury or loss of life does not mitigate their moral or legal responsibilities to ensure safety.

Public accountability and reporting of investigation results of such incidents will improve safety standards across all sectors.

Prof Dr Krishnan Rajam

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