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Risk and Safety Assessments: Your Personal Responsibility.

I believe that Nigerians need to take more seriously the responsibility for their personal safety and those of others they may be directly and indirectly in charge of.

When my parents built the house we live in about 38 years ago, concrete stumps were placed at the entrance of each room. This was done so that when a door is closed, it is flush against the stump and leaves no gap for a rodent to get in.

About 15 years ago, I was home briefly on vacation. I had barely gotten indoors when I asked my father to send for the bricklayer. When he came, I instructed him to remove all the internal concrete stumps. My father looked at me as if I was crazy. There I was authorizing alterations to the house he built without his express consent. Seeing the look on his face, I told him that apart from the fact that there has not been a single incident of rodents entering the house, the stumps were a hazard, particularly for him and my mum as they get older.

Three years ago, when my Dad became ill and his movement was slightly impacted, my instructions to make flat access to all the rooms made sense.

During many of my short trips, some for less than 12 hours, I have made more alterations. I had added smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to the house, which on many occasions had become lifesavers when food items were forgotten on the gas cooker. Since 2006, sequel to increasing incidents of slips inside bathtubs resulting in terrible injuries and sometimes outright death to the victims, the rule for me has been “shower cubicle only, no bathtub”.

Anyone in my house three days ago and visit today would wonder at the constant changes to the layout of my sitting room and study. With young, restless and inquisitive children, I have to do risk and safety assessments many times a day. In the morning, the items I thought they could not reach, by the time I get back in the evening, they have figured that pushing their scooters and standing on them provides an easy reach.

Dear friends, given recent domestic tragedies that makes one’s heart bleed in sorrow and anguish for those involved, I beg you to do a risk and safety assessment of your environment constantly. Not only for the sake of your children but to ensure the well being of all those who might have access to such a location.

Please, walk around your house and office. Identify items that pose a risk to your safety as well as those of occupants and visitors. Install smoke and fire alarms. Put high locks on entrance doors to prevent children from easily gaining access to the outside, to the extent that they slip out and wander into the road or places they should not be without guidance. Do not place items in locations where they can become injurious or trip hazards to you and others.

May the Lord comfort all those in mourning. May such tragedies be eliminated from our midst.