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List of industrial disasters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Victims of Bhopal disaster march in September 2006 demanding the extradition of Warren Anderson from the United States.
Victims of Bhopal disaster march in September 2006 demanding the extradition of Warren Anderson from the United States.

This article lists notable industrial disasters, which are disasters caused by industrial companies, either by accident, negligence or incompetence. They are a form of industrial accident where great damage, injury or loss of life are caused.

Other disasters can also be considered industrial disasters, if their causes are rooted in the products or processes of industry. For example, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was made more severe due to the heavy concentration of lumber industry facilities, wood houses, and fuel and other chemicals in a small area.

The Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents is designed to protect people and the environment from industrial accidents. The Convention aims to prevent accidents from occurring, to reduce their frequency and severity, and to mitigate their effects. The Convention addresses primarily industrial accidents in one country that affect the population and the environment of another country.

Defense industry

Energy industry

Deceased Liquidators' portraits used for an anti-nuclear power protest in Geneva.
Deceased Liquidators' portraits used for an anti-nuclear power protest in Geneva.

Food industry

Manufacturing industry

Mining industry

See Mining accident for more.

Other industrial disasters

  • March 11, 1864: The Great Sheffield Flood. The Dale Dyke Dam, at Bradfield, South Yorkshire, collapsed when its reservoir was being filled for the first time. At least 240 people died, and 5000 properties were flooded.[50] Historian Peter Machan said: "In terms of Victorian England it was the greatest disaster in terms of loss of life, apart from maritime disasters".[51]
  • January 20, 1909: Chicago Crib Disaster. During the construction of a water intake tunnel for the city of Chicago, a fire broke out on a temporary water crib used to access an intermediate point along the tunnel. The fire began in the dynamite magazine and burned the wooden dormitory that housed the tunnel workers. 46 workers survived the fire by jumping into the lake and climbing onto ice floes or the spoil heap near the crib. 29 men were burned beyond recognition, and approximately 60 men died. Most of the remainder drowned or froze to death in the lake and were not recovered.[52][53][54]
  • September 21, 1921: Oppau explosion, Germany. Occurred when a tower silo storing 4,500 tonnes of a mixture of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded at a BASF plant in Oppau, now part of Ludwigshafen, Germany, killing 500–600 people and injuring about 2,000 more.
  • 1927–1932: Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster, near Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, United States. Over several years, 476 workers died from silicosis.
  • 1932–1968: The Minamata disaster was caused by the dumping of mercury compounds in Minamata Bay, Japan. The Chisso Corporation, a fertilizer and later petrochemical company, was found responsible for polluting the bay for 37 years. It is estimated that over 3,000 people suffered various deformities, severe mercury poisoning symptoms or death from what became known as Minamata disease.
  • April 16, 1947: Texas City disaster, Texas. At 9:15 am an explosion occurred aboard a docked ship named the Grandcamp. The explosion, and subsequent fires and explosions, is referred to as the worst industrial disaster in America. A minimum of 578 people lost their lives and another 3,500 were injured as the blast shattered windows from as far away as 25 mi (40 km). Large steel pieces were thrown more than a mile from the dock. The origin of the explosion was fire in the cargo on board the ship. Detonation of 3,200 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer aboard the Grandcamp led to further explosions and fires. The fertilizer shipment was to aid the struggling farmers of Europe recovering from World War II.
  • July 28, 1948: A chemical tank wagon explosion within the BASF's Ludwigshafen, Germany site caused 207 fatalities. 3,818 were injured, and 3,122 buildings were significantly affected.
  • January 9, 1959: In the midst of heavy rains, a failure of the small Vega de Tera dam at about 1:00 a.m. killed 144 of 532 inhabitants in downriver Ribadelago (Zamora, Spain) some minutes later. The dam was new (1956) but poorly built as usual in that period, when the Francoist regime was prioritizing economic development over construction quality. The town was partially destroyed and never recovered; afterwards, the survivors were moved out of the floodable area to a newly built nearby town (Ribadelago Nuevo, "New Ribadelago.") See Catástrofe de Ribadelago (in Spanish.)
  • February 3, 1971: The Thiokol-Woodbine Explosion at a Thiokol chemical plant in Georgia (United States) killed 29 people and seriously injured 50.
  • June 1, 1974: Flixborough disaster, England. An explosion at a chemical plant near the village of Flixborough killed 28 people and seriously injured another 36.
  • 1972–1976: Dioxin spills at Times Beach, Missouri, causing the evacuation and disincorporation of the 2,000-strong town starting 1983. It was the largest civilian exposure to dioxin in the United States' history.
  • July 10, 1976: Seveso disaster, in Seveso, Italy, in a small chemical manufacturing plant of ICMESA. Due to the release of dioxins into the atmosphere and throughout a large section of the Lombard Plain, 3,000 pets and farm animals died and, later, 70,000 animals were slaughtered to prevent dioxins from entering the food chain. In addition, 193 people in the affected areas suffered from chloracne and other symptoms. The disaster lead to the Seveso Directive, which was issued by the European Community and imposed much harsher industrial regulations.
  • April 27, 1978: Willow Island disaster. A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapsed, killing 51 construction workers. The cause was attributed to placing loads on recently poured concrete before it had cured sufficiently to withstand the loads. It is thought to be the largest construction accident in United States history.[55]
  • October 12, 1978: Spyros disaster. The Greek tanker Spyros exploded at Jurong Shipyard in Singapore on October 12, 1978. It killed 76 people, and remains the worst accident, in terms of lives lost, in Singapore's post-war history. It is also Singapore's worst industrial accident
  • February 24, 1984: Occurred on the night in Cubatao, Brazil around 23:30 a gasoline pipeline exploded in the favela of Vila Sao Jose killing at least 508 people, most of them children.[56][57] The tragedy turned the eyes of the world to Cubatao and laid bare another problem: industrial pollution, since the 70s, gave the city the nickname "Death Valley".
  • December 3, 1984: The Bhopal disaster in India is one of the largest industrial disasters on record. A runaway reaction in a tank containing poisonous methyl isocyanate caused the pressure relief system to vent large amounts to the atmosphere at a Union Carbide India Limited plant. Estimates of the death toll range from 3700 to 16,000. The disaster caused the region's human and animal populations severe health problems to the present.
  • November 1, 1986: The Sandoz disaster in Schweizerhalle, Switzerland released tons of toxic agrochemicals into the Rhine River.
  • June 28, 1988: Auburn, Indiana. Improper mixing of chemicals at Bastian Plating Company killed four workers in the worst confined-space industrial accident in U.S. history; a fifth victim died two days later.[58]
  • October 23, 1989: Phillips Disaster. An explosion and fire killed 23 and injured 314 in Pasadena, Texas and registered 3.5 on the Richter magnitude scale.
  • July 5, 1990: An explosion and fire occurred at the Arco Chemical Company complex in Channelview, Texas. 17 people were killed. Five were permanent employees and the remaining 12 were contract labor employees. An area approximately the size of a city block was completely destroyed; no one in the area survived the explosion.[59]
  • May 1, 1991: Sterlington, Louisiana. An explosion at the IMC-operated Angus Chemical nitro-paraffin plant in Sterlington, Louisiana, killed eight workers and injured 120 other people. There was severe damage to the surrounding community. The blasts were heard more than eight miles away.
  • August 21, 2000: Pingxiang steel plant explosion. An oxygen generator exploded in a steel plant in Pingxiang, Jiangxi, China.[60] At least 19 steel workers were killed.[61][62]
  • September 21, 2001: Toulouse, France. An explosion at the AZF fertilizer factory killed 29, injured 2,500, and caused extensive structural damage to nearby neighbourhoods.
  • October 19, 2009: Ottawa, Canada. A boiler explosion at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant killed one person, and three others suffered injuries.[63]
  • October 4, 2010: Alumina plant accident. Ajka, Kolontár, Devecser and several other settlements, Hungary. The dam of Magyar Aluminium's red mud reservoir broke and the escaping highly toxic and alkaline (~pH 13) sludge flooded several settlements. There were nine victims, including a young girl, and hundreds of injuries (mostly chemical burns).
  • January 20, 2012: Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada. At a wood mill two workers were killed and 20 others injured in a fire and explosion. A combustible dust environment led to the explosion and fire.[64]
  • November 8, 2012: Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Two people died and 19 were injured in an industrial processing plant belonging to Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, a manufacturer of health care products.[65]
  • April 17, 2013: Fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. An explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, 18 miles (29 km) north of Waco, while emergency services personnel were responding to a fire at the facility. Fifteen people were killed, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings damaged or destroyed.
  • June 20, 2013: Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec, Canada. Two women were killed in a fireworks warehouse explosion.[66]
  • July 31–August 1, 2014: 2014 Kaohsiung gas explosions. From the underground-installed gas pipelines of a petrochemical factory, a large-scale leakage (which had been occurring for more than three hours) led to a series of gas explosions in the streets of Kaohsiung, Taiwan at the midnight between the two days. Thirty-two people were killed and 321 others were injured.
  • August 12, 2015: Binhai, Tianjin, China. Two explosions within 30 seconds of each other occurred at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China[67] 173 people died as a result.[68]
  • August 23, 2016: Chittagong, Bangladesh. An incident of gas leakage happened at a fertilizer company in port city of Chittagong. The fertilizer company belongs to Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) located near the shore of Karnaphuli River. No deaths were reported but 25 people had fallen ill due to toxic ammonia inhalation.[69] The investigation team found that tank was maintained by unskilled workers instead of skilled engineers which resulted in leakage.[70]
  • September 10, 2016: Gazipur, Bangladesh. A boiler explosion in a packaging industry in the town of Tongi, Gazipur, led to the death of 23 workers. The explosion was so powerful that it made part of the four story building collapse. The explosion also triggered a fire which spread to surrounding areas.[71]
  • May 9, 2018: Patel Milmet Dam failure. An embankment dam in Nakuru County, Kenya, burst during heavy rains, killing at least 48 people.[72]
  • May 7, 2020: Visakhapatnam gas leak. A gas leakage accident at LG Polymers chemical plant in Gopala samudram, Vizag. The leakage had spread over a radius of about 3 km, affecting the nearby areas and villages. 11 were killed and more than 1000 people were injured as of 7 May 2020.[73][74]
  • 3 June 2020: 2020 Dahej chemical plant explosion. Five deaths and more than fifty people injured.[75]
  • August 4, 2020: 2020 Beirut explosions. A massive explosion of a large cache of ammonium nitrate at the Port of Beirut flattened much of the port and damaged buildings throughout the city. As of September 3, 2020, at least 190 people have been reported dead and another 6,500+ injured.[76]
  • 4 November 2020: 2020 Ahmedabad blast resulted in twelve deaths and injuries to nine people.[77]

See also

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