How many ‘near misses’? (Dorothy Harcus)

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that politics is a dirty business.

I’m so mad at the SNP’s carry-on over our MP for starters.

Here, we don’t have too much to do with the Scotland mainland

There are obviously some unavoidable connections, like with NHS and Aberdeen who lose records, etc.
Even most of our young people prefer to go further afield to study than was the case in my generation

I have little doubt that Nicola Sturgeon made the comment that set all this off, and even if she did not, I’m as sure as I can be that she thought it. So what.

And now there’s going to be a witch hunt over a “near miss” at Kirkwall involving the ferry. I don’t ken what Tavish Scott’s nautical expertise amounts to, maybe a bit like mine in algebra or chemistry.

We live on an island and many of us are frequent travellers in all kinds of weather. Those of us of a certain age will have travelled in rickety old planes and ferries that have passed their sell-by date. How many near misses have we known?
Fair enough, I would not be amused to get a lapful of drink and broken glass, or be thrown about on a voyage, but these things happen

I mind one night, sailing from Kirkwall to Lerwick on the old St Rognvald with an infant to look after. It was a night of gales and somewhere on the trip she lost complete power. I grabbed my little bundle and made for the bridge, to learn that they were having to change a valve and all would be well. That could have been a really serious situation.

So I am going to suggest that certain armchair skippers “get a life”.

Every time we get into a car, a plane, a train or a ship, we are taking a risk, but we will just have to accept that or sit at wir ain fireside.

Dorothy Harcus


Add Your Comment
  • Darron Smith

    • July 17th, 2015 15:37

    A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury, fatality or damage; in other words, a miss that was nonetheless very near.
    Something that should NOT be “played down”. Lessons should be learnt !!!

    A witch hunt is not what’s required but reassurance from Serco that an incident investigation has been carried out and corrective actions have been put in place.
    This should be more a internal investigation and doesn’t even need to be public but to say that ” these things happen” for me isn’t good enough.
    I have no doubt after that night spent laying beam on changing a valve on the St Rognvald lessons were learnt, whether it be the maintenance schedule was adjusted or similar valves simply changed out.
    It doesn’t take a armchair skipper to know how serious this could have been, Serco simple shouldn’t brush it under the carpet.

    Darron Smith
    Derrick Barge DB30

  • Alvin Leong

    • July 17th, 2015 18:46

    Risks of any kind are unacceptable to the bubble wrapped generation of today.

    • Ed Freshwater

      • August 3rd, 2015 16:41

      Let’s stop all risk assessment then. Much better in the old days of crippling industrial accidents and a vastly lower life expectancy.
      Got your hands sliced off by faulty machinery at work? Suck it up, these things happen… no, let’s not blame this generation for being bubble wrapped. Let’s instead celebrate that the number of work-related accidents is lower now that 30 years ago, that people live longer and are healthier for longer. Let’s celebrate that people now working with toxic volatile gasses get protective clothing and respirators. Let’s celebrate that we haven’t had a re-run of Piper Alpha. All these advances and more brought to you by risk assessment and management.

      • Ali Inkster

        • August 3rd, 2015 17:11

        Risk assessments tend to be a box ticking exercise and no amount of risk assessments will save that hand if we do not teach folk to use their eyes and ears and yes their brains. I have seen for myself folk trying to use machinery that is broken, but they do not have the wit to figure out it should not be used in that condition. I have seen a man try and open an inspection hatch with 10,000 psi behind it because they had a work permit saying they could, then argue with me when I put my own life at risk and went in to stop them. Much better we teach folk to think for themselves so they can figure out if they should be doing something or not. I also suggest that some folk should not be allowed to do certain jobs or even be allowed to work in certain industries, this would have a far greater effect on reducing industrial accidents than ticking boxes on a form.

      • Alvin Leong

        • August 6th, 2015 13:36

        Risk assessments can be bought online for a few quid these days, bet they are really useful in saving lives.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 27th, 2015 23:06

    Surely a near miss means that a collision actually took place.A near hit means that a collision was avoided. Try knocking a nail into a piece of wood and nearly missing your thumb. Ouch !!I! It’s all down to slack speech.


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