In just three short weeks we've witnessed what oversight and lack of regulations does for our well being. I realize that we do not live in a perfect world and accidents will happen, however they should be few and far between. There is a balance between a Nanny state and a free for all when it comes to regulating safety issues. I've worked in one of the most regulated industries in the country for over 20 years so I think I know a thing or two. It takes a balance. Too few regulations and inspections is a recipe for disaster. Too many and the job becomes too expensive to profit anyone. No one can anticipate ever hazard but following basic common sense is a good start. That's especially true of things that tend to blow up. Assuming something won't just because "we've always done it that way" is not a great axiom to live by. It's far better to assume the worst will happen and plan accordingly. At least that's what's kept me alive as long as I have been.
What have we seen the last three weeks? An oil pipeline ruptured in Arkansas. That was bad enough but to add insult to injury there was a subdivision built right over it. Not a smart thing when even if it hadn't burst it might have needed servicing in the future. There was also no mention of it's inspection which would have been easy from the inside with what they call a pig, but then that would involve shutting the line down and that would mean loss of profits. And there's no way to check for exterior deterioration other than to dig up the line right in someone's front yard.
I guess I'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law. "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong". And normally at the worst possible times too.
Then there was the fertilizer plant in Texas. I'd title that a recipe for disaster when a company flat out lies about what chemicals they have and procedures and safety measures that were not in place. It's not just a matter of more regulations or stiff penalties for their disregard either, this is a criminal matter. So while the Texas legislature and media in that state might try and gloss over this tragedy as some unforeseen accident it was very preventable. And you watch as the federal senators from the state try and blame the regulators or Obama or anyone else they can find as the fall guy. The truth is the oversight of our industries has been diminished at an accelerated pace since Bush took office in 2000. To his discredit Obama has done little to improve the situation.