After traveling to a few countries and seeing how they operate, I have concluded that Australia has a strange obsession with over-precaution and safety. We have so many rules and regulations for absolutely every situation and are continually on the look out for more. Anyone that has had anything to do with workplace health and safety will know exactly what I'm talking about. Safe working procedures, hazard identification etc etc etc.
It seems that we no longer take responsibility for our own actions anymore. If someone injures themselves doing something stupid, all they have to do is scream negligence and it's no longer their fault. You hear about ridiculous law suits all the time- Child sues school for not educating him... Or for some other fantastic examples, check out the 'Stella Awards' http://www.stellaawards.com/2006.html for some other crazy lawsuits.
Have we really become a bunch of unaccountable children not liable to be called to account by a higher authority? It certainly seems that way.
Other countries, however, still seem to value common sense. If there is a train line nearby, there is no need for a 10ft barrier with spikes on top, just don't play on the tracks. If a truck is loading pallets of goods, they don't need to fence off the area, just don't go near it. If you buy a hot coffee, it doesn't need 'caution hot' plastered all over it, it's a freakin HOT coffee! If a box is really heavy, it doesn't need do not lift signs on it, just don't try to lift it. I could go on forever.
No extensive lists of safety regulations just to avoid liability. No ridiculous hazard identifications and protocols. No high insurance premiums and endless paperwork. Just plain simple common sense.
Last week I was riding through a forest when I came up behind a truck loading logs onto it's trailer with a crane. No witches hats, no traffic control, no exclusion zone. I stopped. They stopped work and let me go by. No problems.
It is so bizarre that we have now set the precedence to no longer be responsible for our own stupidity.
Why am I having this rant? Well I just discovered the MASSIVE difference between Australian and European travel insurance premiums! Not just a few hundred dollars but over $1000!!! It is almost unbelievable.