List of industrial disasters

(Redirected from Industrial disaster)

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.

Victims of Bhopal disaster march in September 2006 demanding the extradition of Warren Anderson from the United States. It is considered the worst industrial disaster in history.

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 Edit

  • December 6, 1917: Halifax, Canada. The Halifax Explosion. A ship loaded with about 9,000 tons of high explosives destined for France caught fire as a result of a collision in Halifax harbour, and exploded. The explosion killed about 2,000 and injured about 9,000.
  • October 4, 1918: T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion. An ammunition plant in Sayreville, New Jersey, exploded, killing approximately 100 people, destroying 300 buildings and causing $18 million in damages.
  • March 1, 1924: 1924 Nixon Nitration Works disaster. A plant for processing ammonium nitrate in Edison, New Jersey, exploded, killing 24 people, injuring 100 and destroying several buildings.
  • July 10, 1926: Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. 600,000 lbs. of explosives detonated as a result of a lightning strike. 187 of the 200 buildings in the arsenal were destroyed and debris was found as far as 20 miles away. Damage of close to one billion dollars in 2022 dollars.
  • April 14, 1944: Bombay docks explosion. A British freighter SS Fort Stikine carrying 1400 tons of explosives and 240 tons of weapons (torpedoes and mines) caught fire due to improper storage, resulting in two massive explosions killing some 800-1300 people. The explosion also led to fires in many parts of the city and the docks needed months of repair work to function again.
  • July 17, 1944: Port Chicago Disaster. A munitions explosion that killed 320 people occurred at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California.
  • Nov 27, 1944: RAF Fauld Explosion. Explosion of between 3500 and 4000 tonnes of ordnance in an underground munitions store killed 70 people.
  • August 9, 1965: Searcy missile silo fire, Arkansas. 53 contract workers were killed during a fire at a Titan missile silo. The cause of the fire was determined to be a welding rod damaging a hydraulic hose carrying Aerozine 50 fuel. This allowed the hypergolic fuel vapors to spread throughout the silo, which were then ignited by an open flame.
  • April 13, 1976: Lapua Cartridge Factory explosion. An explosion in a munitions factory in Lapua, Finland, kills 40 workers.
  • May 5, 1983: "6 Martie" Ammunition Factory in Zărnești, Romania.[1] An explosion in the production facilities inside the factory completely destroyed two buildings, killing 37 people and injuring more than 300.
  • April 10, 1988: Ojhri Camp, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A military storage center exploded, killing more than 90 people.
  • July 11, 2011: Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion, Cyprus. The disaster occurred when 98 containers of gunpowder exploded; 13 people were killed, among them the captain of the base, three commanders, twin brothers who were serving there as marines, and six firefighters. 62 people were injured and the explosion knocked out the island's power station for days.

Energy industry Edit

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

Food industry Edit

  • 17 October 1814: The London Beer Flood was an accident at Meux & Co's Horse Shoe Brewery, London, on 17 October 1814. It took place when one of the 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) wooden vats of fermenting porter burst. The pressure of the escaping liquid dislodged the valve of another vessel and destroyed several large barrels: between 128,000 and 323,000 imperial gallons (580,000–1,470,000 L; 154,000–388,000 US gal) of beer were released in total.
  • 18 June 1875: The Dublin whiskey fire took place on 18 June 1875 in the Liberties area of Dublin.[24] It lasted a single night but killed 13 people, and resulted in €6 million worth of damage in whiskey alone (adjusted for inflation).[25] People drank the 6 inches (150 mm) deep river of whiskey that is said to have flowed as far as the Coombe.[26] None of the fatalities suffered during the fire were due to smoke inhalation, burns, or any other form of direct contact with the fire itself; all of them were attributed to alcohol poisoning.
  • May 2, 1878: Great Mill Disaster. Six flour mills in Minneapolis were destroyed by a flour dust explosion and subsequent fire coming from the Washburn A Mill, killing 18. The mill was rebuilt with updated technology. The explosion led to new safety standards in the milling industry.[27] A dust explosion is the rapid combustion of fine particles suspended in the air within an enclosed location. Dust explosions can occur where any dispersed powdered combustible material is present in high-enough concentrations in the atmosphere or other oxidizing gaseous medium, such as pure oxygen.
  • August 9, 1919: The Port Colborne explosion at Port Colborne, Ontario was a dust explosion in the Dominion grain elevator on August 9, 1919. The blast killed 10 and seriously injured 16 more.
Coverage of the Great Molasses Flood from The Boston Post
  • January 15, 1919: Great Molasses Flood. A large molasses tank in Boston, Massachusetts burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on a hot summer day, the area still smells of molasses.
  • February 6, 1979: The Roland Mill, located in Bremen, West Germany, was destroyed by a flour dust explosion, killing 14 and injuring 17.
  • September 3, 1991: Hamlet chicken processing plant fire in Hamlet, North Carolina, where locked doors trapped workers in a burning processing plant, causing 25 deaths.
  • September 3, 1998: Grain elevator explosion in Haysville, Kansas. A series of dust explosions in a large grain storage facility resulted in the deaths of seven people.[28]
  • May 9, 2000: The Wild Turkey Distillery fire[29][30][31][32] – On May 9, 2000, a fire destroyed a seven-story aging warehouse at the company in Anderson County, Kentucky. It contained more than 17,000 wooden barrels of whiskey.[33] Burning whiskey flowed from the warehouse setting the woods on fire. Firefighters saved Lawrenceburg's water treatment plant from destruction. However, an estimated 20% of the whiskey flowed into the Kentucky River.[34] The river contamination required the temporary shutdown of the water treatment plant. Officials ordered water usage restrictions. Businesses and schools were closed because of the water shortage.[35] The alcohol spill also depleted the oxygen in the river, killing an estimated 228,000 fish along a 66-mile stretch. The EPA and the Coast Guard's Gulf Strike Team aerated the river using equipment mounted on barges.[35] The company paid $256,000 to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in an effort to restore the fish population in the river.[35]
  • February 7, 2008: The 2008 Georgia sugar refinery explosion in Port Wentworth, Georgia, United States. Thirteen people were killed and 42 injured when a dust explosion occurred at a sugar refinery owned by Imperial Sugar.
  • March 12, 2008: Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. A roof collapse in the Gourmet du Village bakery warehouse killed three workers.[36]
  • June 9, 2009: The 2009 ConAgra Foods plant explosion, when a natural gas explosion at the ConAgra Foods Slim Jim production facility in Garner, North Carolina, United States killed four people and triggered an ammonia leak.[37]
  • September 2013: The Honolulu molasses spill – In September 2013, 1,400 tons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor. The spill was discovered on 9 September 2013.[38] It was caused by a faulty pipe, for which the shipping company Matson Navigation Co. took responsibility.[39] Molasses is an unregulated product, and neither Matson nor government officials had a contingency plan to respond to a molasses spill.[38] Natural currents and weather were expected to eventually dilute and flush the molasses out of the harbor and a nearby lagoon.[40]
  • 2013 Brunost blaze[41][42][43][44]
  • 23 April 2017: The Pepsi fruit juice flood was a flood of 176,000 barrels (28 million litres; 7.4 million US gallons) of fruit and vegetable juices into the streets of Lebedyan, Russia, and the Don River, caused by the collapse of a PepsiCo warehouse.[45]
  • January 28, 2021: The 2021 Georgia poultry plant accident in Gainesville, Georgia, United States. Six people were killed by asphyxiation when a liquid nitrogen leak occurred at a poultry processing plant owned by Foundation Food Group.[46]

Manufacturing industry Edit

Mining industry Edit

Other industrial disasters Edit

  • 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.[75] Historian Peter Machan said: "In terms of Victorian England it was the greatest disaster in terms of loss of life, apart from maritime disasters".[76]
  • 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.[77][78][79]
  • 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. At least 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 [de] within the BASF's Ludwigshafen, Germany site caused 207 fatalities. 3,818 were injured, and 3,122 buildings were significantly affected.
  • January 9, 1959: Vega de Tera disaster, Spain. 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.")
  • 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 is unknowingly released on the unpaved roads of Times Beach, Missouri, as part of a dust-abatement program, 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.[80]
  • 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.[81][82] 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".
  • 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.[83]
  • 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.[84]
  • 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.
  • May 7, 1991: Sungai Buloh fireworks disaster. Around 3:45 PM MYT, the Bright Sparklers Fireworks factory near Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia, caught fire and violently exploded, caused by experimentations with explosive chemicals in the factory's canteen. The disaster claimed 26 lives and injured over 100. Dubbed the Hiroshima of Sungai Buloh, the energy emanated from the explosion was so strong enough to destroy over 200 residential properties in the vicinity of the factory.
  • August 21, 2000: Pingxiang steel plant explosion. An oxygen generator exploded in a steel plant in Pingxiang, Jiangxi, China.[85] At least 19 steel workers were killed.[86][87]
  • 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.[88]
  • 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.[89]
  • 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.[90]
  • 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.[91]
  • 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.[92] 173 people died as a result.[93]
  • 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.[94] The investigation team found that tank was maintained by unskilled workers instead of skilled engineers which resulted in leakage.[95]
  • 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.[96]
  • May 9, 2018: Patel Milmet Dam failure. An embankment dam in Nakuru County, Kenya, burst during heavy rains, killing at least 48 people.[97]
  • 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.[98][99]
  • 3 June 2020: 2020 Dahej chemical plant explosion. Five deaths and more than fifty people injured.[100]
  • 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. More than 200 people were killed and over 7000 injured.[101]
  • 4 November 2020: Ahmedabad chemical factory blast resulted in twelve deaths and injuries to nine people.[102]
  • 6 January 2022: Surat gas leak: At least six people died and 22 people became sick following gas leak from a tanker in an industrial area in India.[103]
  • 4 June 2022: 2022 Sitakunda fire. A fire and subsequent explosions at a container storage facility in Bangladesh's Chittagong District killed at least 33 people and injured more than 450 others.[104][105][106]
  • 27 June 2022: 2022 Aqaba toxic gas leak, at least 10 dead and more than 251 injured by ruptured tank containing 25 tons of chlorine in Port of Aqaba, Jordan.[107]

See also Edit

References Edit

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