Art of troubleshooting

“Accidents do not happen, they are caused” — this is the basic concept imparted meticulously to new entrants in all industrial establishments, especially where hazardous operations are involved. But this holds good with equal emphasis on all aspects of our day-to-day life. Extensive studies in this regard have shown that a major percentage of accidents happen due to human error while the rest are attributable to system or equipment failure.

Recently, there appeared a news column about a nine-month-old baby getting locked up inside a posh fifth floor apartment when its main door, with a highly sophisticated automatic lock, closed shut due to a strong breeze. The keys happened to be inside, while the child’s parents were outside with the neighbours. The fire brigade had to be called to rescue the child. Could we not avoid such instances by keeping duplicate keys with some reliable neighbour? This is just one of the myriad freak incidents causing panic in our daily lives.

Not long ago, a dry coconut landed on my cousin’s head grievously injuring her, belying the much-hyped belief that coconuts are never known to fall on anybody! But then, it is certainly not a brilliant idea to sit reading a book under a coconut tree, which she did. Often we unwittingly plan hazardous situations in our own living spaces. For instance, what is the purpose of opting for a highly polished and glazed slippery flooring in our houses which could be a potential booby-trap, especially for senior citizens?

These days, it has become fashionable for architects to opt for ‘modular construction’ which involves fabricating components called ‘modules’ in factories and then transporting them to the site for assembling. For example, such a concept has resulted in things like construction of staircases with no railing on any side and with a wide vertical gap between pre-moulded steps through which a playing child could easily fall through! Oldies like me can’t even think of climbing them. This is just one of the many such so-called modern innovations which need to be rejected outright.

Recently, an ailing aged friend was trapped in his own toilet when its sturdy self-locking device got jammed. It took hours to rescue him after breaking open the door itself! Why are such automatic locking devices necessary in our own bath and toilets as if some family heirlooms need to be guarded there? Wouldn’t a simple bolt have sufficed?

Many of us are in the habit of bathing with the geyser ‘on’ without realising the potential risk of electrocution in the event of insulation failure. Let us be aware that there is no total failproof earth leakage relay protection system. Keep the geyser ‘off’ before bathing. I am also sure that many of us do not close the cooking gas cylinder pressure regulator valve when we go out, inviting possible fire and explosion hazard.

It does not need a genius to work out simple and effective measures to avert similar lurking hazards. Just let us put our common sense on the job and see the solutions unfolding themselves!

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