Health and Safety Law: Safe but not harmless


People across Queensland and Australia were horrified when they saw a television image of a burning house in Clayfield, Brisbane.There, a 6-year-old boy Max Chilira Died in a terrifying flame, Probably due to an electrical failure. Due to the collapse of the roof of the house, it was not possible to immediately check if a smoke detector was installed in the house. This may have warned the boy of a serious danger.

The Queensland Parliament has adopted a strict new law on smoke detectors. This must be observed by the homeowner by 2027. In enacting the law, Congress responded to or expected the tragedy that happened early on Easter Monday. When Chirilla is consumed by a fierce flame during a great fire.

History reveals that every time a tragedy occurs, legislators can be expected to take action and adopt new measures to ensure that such a tragedy “will not occur in the future.”

These measures are examples of paternalistic legislation, which are often expensive for homeowners to implement, but can also have beneficial effects. Indeed, most paternal interventions have led to the adoption of useful and life-saving laws. For example, it is a law that imposes obligations on homeowners to fence pools and on car owners to use vehicle seat belts.

But the demands of distraught victims, compassionate, or computational politicians to adopt laws to prevent tragedy from happening again are understandable, but sometimes dishonest.

It is possible that the fiery disaster that killed Max Chirilla will reoccur in the future, even if, by common sense, the authorities have adopted and enforced relevant paternalistic legislation on these disasters. This is because it suggests that there is. Mankind cannot eradicate tragedy forever, but by adopting targeted and well-thought-out laws, tragedy may be reduced.

For example, consider installing an advanced smoke detector in every home. Beginning January 1, smoke detectors are required for rental or for-sale housing in Queensland. These smoke alarms must be “interconnected” and “photoelectric”.

Epoch Times Photo
Smoke detector for a house in Lyon, France, February 26, 2015. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP via Getty Images)

Smoke detector legislation also imposes an obligation on all homeowners to install photoelectric smoke detectors interconnected at all bedrooms, hallways, and all levels by 2027.

Specifically, by law, smoke detectors in a dwelling are less than 10 years old, work during testing, interconnect with all other smoke detectors in a dwelling, and detect smoke in any part. Everything needs to work together when done.

Therefore, “interconnected” alarms ensure that once one alarm is activated, all alarms will sound, thereby giving the resident of the house enough time to escape the subsequent big fire. “Optical” smoke alarms are needed because they react to smoldering fires and the most common type of household fire, the thick smoke.

Paternity legislation has a long history Australia.. Victoria, for example, was the first Australian state in 1970 to require passengers and drivers of all vehicles to use seat belts. The installation and use of belts has helped reduce subsequent road fatalities.

But the beneficial effects of paternalistic law must not mask the reality that some safety and regulatory laws are bad. This is the case if the legislative intervention could or should have been done by the people themselves.

Bad law is a law issued by a state that acts as a nanny state that treats people as nursery prisoners.

Invasive intervention by health bureaucrats and compliant companies reveals that the government has shamelessly accepted paternalist penalties as a legislative principle while the COVID-19 pandemic is rampant in the lives of law-abiding citizens. I am doing it. Enforcement of this principle imposes invasive health decisions that individuals must make on their own.

These bureaucrats and politicians have, in effect, embraced “nanny states” who seek to achieve their goals by normatively controlling, banning, or enforcing individual behavior.

In many cases, new legislation is promoted by legislators as an appropriate response to dire cases, and its repetition is eliminated or reduced by the adoption and enforcement of relevant legislation.

However, this rule-making enthusiasm is statistically that disasters inevitably occur in any society over time, and while laws may temporarily reduce these occurrences, they themselves are in the lives of civilizations. A society that overlooks the fact that it has the inherent ability to cause serious turmoil.

Epoch Times Photo
The house damaged by the fire of the victim Max Chirilah will be found in Clayfield, Brisbane, Australia on April 19, 2022. (AAP image / Darren England)

This claim is not fantasy. As an example, it is useful to consider the UK’s adoption of a safety law that prohibits emergency rescue personnel from getting water above their ankles.

Following the drowning of rescue workers, the law caused epileptic seizures and the death of a man who fell into a shallow pond. It prevented rescue workers from entering the pond, and from the safety of the dry land, they saw the man drown.

Therefore, paternalistic law should only be adopted after careful consideration of the consequences of its enforcement.

In this context, Queensland’s requirement that “interconnected” smoke alarms be needed to alert residents to a fire dwelling seems unreasonable. This is because the noise generated by the unconnected smoke alarm will surely reverberate throughout the home and be audible to everyone in the home.

Common sense also suggests that it is more expensive to install and repair interconnected alarms than to replace existing disconnected alarms.

Ultimately, it’s people’s attention to avoid disasters like the tragic death of Max Chirilah, who had a future in front of him before being extinguished by that horrific fire on Easter’s long weekend. Be wary.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Gabriel Moens


Gabriël A. MoensAM is an emeritus professor at the University of Queensland and Vice-President and Dean of the University of Queensland. In 2003, Mornes was awarded the Australian Centennial Medal by the Prime Minister for her service to education. He has taught extensively in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens recently published two novels, “ATwisted Choice” (Boolarong Press, 2020) and “The Coincidence” (Connor Court Publishing, 2021).