x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Safer building for our children's sake

Moyachery Safvan died when he stepped on a live wire buried in the sand at a popular neighbourhood play area. As we report today, court officials have said that they will not rest until they find who was responsible for the seven-year-old's death.

Moyachery Safvan died less than three weeks ago when he stepped on a live wire buried in the sand at a popular neighbourhood play area. As we report today, court officials have said that they will not rest until they find who was responsible for the seven-year-old Indian boy's death.

"It is very important for the case to remain open because it is the case of a child's blood," said Ahmad Saleh, the attorney general of the RAK courts. "The investigation will be continuous and will not have an end until there is a criminal found. [Investigators] will talk to witnesses and get to know all possible truths."

Accountability for this tragedy is an important first step. But stricter measures must also be put in place to minimise the possibility of this happening again. As Mohamed Abubaker, the principal of the school where Moyachery attended said, "if it happens in one area, it can happen in others too".

While the call for accountability and improved safety measures is welcome, a lot of hard work remains to address the larger issues. And while an illegal electrical feed may be at fault in the instance of Moyachery's death, poor workmanship in many building projects has been the cause of too many similar accidents. Greater government oversight and safety supervision will certainly improve matters, but society will continue to pay a high price if construction companies continue to pay low salaries to unskilled workers who work long hours. Add to this that many workers are not given proper training but expected to learn their trade as they go along, and it's easy to see that the quality of the finished product is compromised. And as the number of accidental deaths in the country shows, so is safety.

The slowdown in the economy and the pace of the country's development may provide a valuable pause. Companies now have opportunities to take stock of their safety procedures. They, as much as officials, educators, and parents, have a responsibility to prevent future tragedies.