A Titan of a problem

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A drawing of a submarine stuck underwater, its path blocked by a fence that says “poorly regulated standards.”
Regulations may cost money, but are probably a lot better than having your submarine implode. OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay, manipulated by Lee Lim

Cutting costs at the cost of safety is never a good idea

by katlyn richardson, contributor

By now we have all heard about the Titan submarine implosion. The internet was filled with memes and jokes about the sub while the search was ongoing. Some may call this tasteless humour, while others are starting to actually examine the lack of empathy.  

The reality is the rich are the problem. With record inflation, it is becoming more apparent how disconnected the rich are from the average experience. As the wealthy distance themselves from real world problems, average folks are left to suffer alone. 

When those aboard the Titan first went missing, it was quickly revealed that the CEO of OceanGate ignored the safety recommendations and fired the engineer who made it known that there was a high chance of implosion. Rich business owners like this often try to get around rules put in place to protect people just to make as big of a profit as possible at any cost. They regularly lobby governments to drop regulations in place to protect others. This attitude has caused a huge division as it really shows no remorse for putting people at significant risk. With inflation affecting so many people, we are starting to see just how little these people understand the problems that they are partially at fault for causing.  

The rich are often also the class that lobbies governments to drop regulations that are there to protect others. Safety regulations are crucial for several reasons and extremely vital when a human life is in someone’s hands. Take safety regulations in the workplace, which create a secure environment for employees, visitors, and customers as well as leading to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism due to injuries, and improved employee morale. These protections also allow people to gain better confidence in the potential companies they can buy from.  

As for the class divide, we see these people recommending some strange ideas on saving money such as surviving on the free food samples at grocery stores and malls or renting out your closet space to strangers to save on rent. Some may even suggest having your parents buy you a home so you can easily own one yourself without worrying about the astronomical costs associated with home buying. It’s these kinds of tips that make it very apparent how little they know of average life as an average person. When you don’t grow up well-off, you better understand how many layers there are to the root of the issues we face.  

One of the biggest groups of power that can help is governments. We’ve seen how fast the Canadian government was willing to throw millions into the search effort of OceanGate or even helping those struggling most in the country. While I would love to say a government should just tell these rich people and their families to fund the search with their estates or really fund anything they refuse to lose a tiny bit of profit over, I know it’s not how it will work. While on the one hand I think “well if they don’t want to pay their share, they can kick rocks,” I know how badly that will affect the economy. 

If Canada were to turn their backs on the rich tomorrow, we would see massive companies pulling out of Canada causing major job loss, our GDP tanking, and trade drying up. The better option is using financial penalties to punish behaviour that just hurts people. In this scenario I would put a percentage-based fine on OceanGate such as five per cent of the total sales from the sub trip. A fine of about $35,000 would be rather small to a multi-million-dollar corporation, but rightfully affects the image. 

When companies cut corners that then cause serious harm, it affects customers’ trust in what they purchase. I remember from my time of being a big Grey’s Anatomy watcher what happened when a large medical company purchased the hospital; subpar protective gear was purchased and given to surgeons to use. For a while there were no consequences and people were fine. Then a bunch of patients ended up with infections that killed at least one patient. When the investigation was launched it was soon discovered that it was caused by a type of bacteria the surgeon was carrying, and infected the patients due to microscopic holes in the subpar protective gear.  

The effects of this event triggered a significant mental illness episode for the character that even years later she still struggles with. At no point did we see the owner of the medical company show remorse. Keeping in mind that TV is an over-exaggeration of the real world, we do see this in real life. The phrase “you’re only sorry because you got caught” very much rings true in these situations. 

The OceanGate sub disaster was a preventable tragedy and a reminder of how much risk a human is willing to take just for a rare opportunity. The risks were made even more significant by ignoring safety concerns raised by a person hired to ensure safety for those in the sub. The fact that OceanGate might actually face little if any punishments for this act of pure ignorance is disgusting. People were killed out of pure selfishness and this will not be the last time this happens.  

I hope in the coming months that government agencies step in to create harsher punishments for ignoring safety recommendations from trained professionals. The sooner this carelessness is punished, the sooner we can hope to make the wealthy elite pay their share instead of making everyone else cover the expense of fixing their mistakes and saving them from their own stupidity.  

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