Observer on Saturday - - News - By Ob­server Re­porter

The Tues­day Malagwane ac­ci­dent left many road users an­gry that po­lice and pub­lic works and trans­port of­fi­cers don’t learn from past ex­pe­ri­ences. Since we are now liv­ing in the era of so­cial me­dia plat­forms road users took to face­book to this week to ex­press their dis­gust at the treat­ment they re­ceive every time there is a truck which jhas lost con­trol and block the down­hill lanes. One such per­son whose post o face­book at­tracted more com­ments was DJ Mix­mash Tru-Soundz who wrote un­der the head­ing: Learn­ing from Dis­as­ters: Part One - A case study of Malagwane truck ac­ci­dents: A quick anal­y­sis of the re­cent truck in­ci­dent that took place on Tues­day at Malagwane shows that cer­tain na­tional tar­gets are still far-fetched due to poor risk man­age­ment prac­tices. This trea­tise has been sum­marised in re­la­tion to risk man­age­ment (pre­ven­tion of ac­ci­dents), dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness and re­sponse (re­ac­tion dur­ing the ac­ci­dent) and iso­mor­phic learn­ing (lessons from pre­vi­ous ac­ci­dents)

Risk Man­age­ment - With­out delv­ing much to the ob­vi­ous sub­stan­dard de­sign of the wind­ing and ter­ra­ne­ous Malagwane road, the de­sign clearly did not take risk as­sess­ment into con­sid­er­a­tion; no side idling lane for trucks, un­even sur­face on sharp cor­ners, inad­e­quate con­crete bar­ri­cade for run­away ve­hi­cles, inad­e­quate run­away traf­fic calm­ing strips and poor grip qual­i­ties. Ad­di­tion­ally we de­signed this road with­out mak­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate fu­ture traf­fic pro­jec­tions. The traf­fic us­ing the dou­ble car­riage­way has in­creased ap­prox­i­mately by 800 per cent since the road was con­structed. In­creased traf­fic on the road means higher prob­a­bil­i­ties for traf­fic re­lated risks. Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness and Re­sponse - Clearly no one knows what to do every time there is a ma­jor in­ci­dent at Malagwane.

No clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion of roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to emer­gency re­sponse team, No clean-up ex­per­tise (Sand be­ing used to clean-up oil on a sharp cor­ner and the same sand is a sig­nif­i­cant slip hazard to traf­fic).

No read­ily avail­able ma­jor break­down ser­vices, poor traf­fic man­age­ment, no al­ter­nate routes (de­spite the con­tin­ued in­ci­dents which by now should have prompted avail­ing proper al­ter­nate routes)

For in­stance on the ac­ci­dent af­ter­noon one se­nior of­fi­cer was say­ing on ra­dio that the pub­lic should use the al­ter­nate Ezul­wini - Gob­holo Road to avoid con­ges­tion at the in­ci­dent site, know­ing very well that even a heavy duty trac­tor strug­gles to tra­verse on that road.

Worse yet, imag­ine this dis­as­ter worse than what we think is a dis­as­ter; whilst the 600 or so cars are slowly mov­ing down­hill at snail-pace a tanker car­ry­ing 40 000 liters of diesel looses brak­ing abil­ity and crashes at high speed to the down­hill traf­fic. A be­gin­ning of a real dis­as­ter and chain re­ac­tion that could claim hun­dreds of lives (It is gen­eral logic, at least for safety and risk prac­ti­tion­ers, that high risk ve­hi­cles

should not be al­lowed to go down­hill un­til a ma­jor in­ci­dent has been cleared.)

Iso­mor­phic Learn­ing - Clearly we do not like learn­ing from pre­vi­ous dis­as­ters. That is why we have a re­peat of al­most sim­i­lar in­ci­dents, with the only vari­able be­ing that they are get­ting more dis­as­trous by the day.

Af­ter a ma­jor in­ci­dent like the re­cent one, does the emer­gency team (if one ex­ists) meet and look at root causes, cor­rec­tive and pre­ven­tive ac­tion...I doubt!

The sur­face of the road is badly worn and present risks even on normal driv­ing con­di­tions - how much more in ad­verse driv­ing con­di­tions?

Does any­one even think about these...who is sup­posed to think that the vol­ume of traf­fic is now big­ger than the ini­tial road de­sign?

How many more ac­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties do we need to ex­pe­ri­ence to re­alise the loom­ing dis­as­ter?

Con­clu­sion - Re­peated in­ci­dents that are not cor­rected in time have a cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect.

When a dis­as­ter fi­nally strikes, it is an ex­po­nen­tial func­tion of un­re­solved ‘mi­nor’ dis­as­ters.

Fail­ure of hind­sight (Fail­ure to learn

from pre­vi­ous events) is a paral­y­sis for any coun­try’s vi­sion to achieve safety tar­gets.

If you can­not cor­rect you can­not im­prove Friends re­acted to the post: Melusi Dlamini Zox: Part Two. Please.

Senzo Sime­lane: Hhawu Mash­wama, spent end­less hours of com­pany time as an in­surer ex­plain­ing sim­i­lar con­cepts if not the same to com­pany ex­ecs. “Ngeke kube NALENYE inhlekelele fana, sitokhuleka eNkhosini“

Senzo Sime­lane: On an­other note, this is very well writ­ten. Will con­sult with you in fu­ture.

Kîng Sâhr: They need to ex­pand the road and con­sider all the is­sues you men­tioned. But have you con­sid­ered in your study what the im­pact of in­cor­po­rat­ing the re­me­dial mea­sures you dis­cuss in your study would have on the econ­omy or on the flow of traf­fic and ser­vices to and from Mba­bane?

Have you thought of quan­ti­fy­ing what the cost to the econ­omy would be on the de­lays caused in the movement of traf­fic and goods as a re­sult of re­design­ing the road?

Is the rea­son why no de­sign changes have been made on the road to in­cor­po­rate your pro­posed reme­dies, not sim­ply

be­cause we need a brand new high­way?

Si­bon­iso Knowl­ede: Good thoughts Mash how­ever on the point of not al­low­ing high risk ve­hi­cles go­ing down­hill un­til the dam­age has been put un­der con­trol, it could be cat­a­strophic to eco­nomic growth due de­lays in de­liv­ery of raw ma­te­ri­als which I sup­pose 80 per cent of those ve­hi­cles trans­port. Maybe im­proved traf­fic man­age­ment can do in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion and tol­er­ance on the part of other road users be­cause they also cause fur­ther block­ages in the traf­fic flow by their loot­ing among other things

Sainte Gee: And the up­grade of by­pass road... Be used by the heavy duty trans­ports .... put tar .... well there is the down­hill of tea-road too just to­wards satel­lite, which also needs re­design (min­istry of works source funds to cre­ate straight high­ways) that will move on top of the moun­tains than cav­ing ....

Min­is­ter Bahlengi Dlamini Mamba: of .......... 2018 -2028 .... Ncono nales­bongo sakaMshinga sesi­vamile.

Man­qoba Mbu­lazi: The ar­chi­tec­ture of our high­way is partly to blame. It’s not just Malagwane. Try the stop sign af­ter the Sid­washini off-ramp (the in­ter­sec­tion to Mbang­weni and Water­ford). There’s se­ri­ous ob­struc­tion there such that a car com­ing from the Mbang­weni di­rec­tion is un­sighted. There’s an­other one from the high­way off-ramp to Mh­lam­bany­atsi. Same story.

You can’t see a car com­ing from ei­ther NERCHA di­rec­tion (from an awk­ward an­gle) and the other di­rec­tion. I won’t even waste your time about the dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen e Ba­hai where you lit­er­ally on-ramp on the fast lane. There’s a lot of risk in­volved on our high­way. Our driv­ing also takes a por­tion of the blame. Have you ever seen the speed­ing down Malagwane? It’s scary. Se­siye­jwayele imoto

Kîng Sâhr: Si­bongiseni ........ you can’t blame the ar­chi­tec­ture or the ar­chi­tect sim­ply be­cause the ar­chi­tect (de­sign en­gi­neer) de­liv­ers on a brief and the ar­chi­tec­ture is a re­flec­tion of that brief. The brief is a guided by the bud­get. If the bud­get is lim­ited, then lim­ited fea­tures can be in­cor­po­rated in the de­sign.

The blame rests on the trans­porta­tion plan­ners (TP). It’s their job to ad­vise the de­sign en­gi­neers or ar­chi­tect. If the TPs are in­com­pe­tent and things go wrong with them, it fol­lows through to im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Si­bongiseni Mamba: That’s a tech­ni­cal ar­gu­ment you are rais­ing. But what­ever the case, you and I must live with the prob­lem boet. That’s the is­sue.

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