Monday, July 6, 2009

Fatality on Disney's Monorail

If a fatality can happen at The Happiest Place on Earth, it can happen anywhere.

If you haven't heard, a young man died aboard a Monorail train at "The Magic Kingdom" near Orlando on Sunday. Two monorail trains were returning from a fireworks show at Epcot crashed, one rear-ending the other. The 21-year-old driver of the striking train died.

Fortunately, it occurred in the middle of the night when only a handful of passengers were on board.

It's hard not to think about the Washington, D.C., Metro disaster a few weeks ago, or the Rockford, Ill., train explosion. Lives are affected. We're going to hear about investigators looking into the train crews, their performance, the condition of the mechanical components, the signals and their electronic components, the integrity of the cars, the emergency response, and so on. And we should. We can trust that we'll learn from whatever occurred so it won't happen again.

Meantime, let's not forget that the fatality isn't necessarily about trains or the current state of our rail system. Awareness and eliminating risk is entirely agnostic. It doesn't matter what industry you work in, where you live, how you arrive to work every day: hazards and incidents and near misses are everywhere.

A disaster is a disaster. A fatality is a fatality. These events impact lives in the most profound ways, which brings me to the obvious point: the best thing any of us can do is to be wary of all the ways to anticipate what can go wrong. Right now. And at all times.

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