Dream big. Push the limit. Reach for the stars. Humanity has always been ambitious. With ambition comes pride and confidence, which may lead to mistakes, and some mistakes result in tragedies. Follow the special series Man-Made Disasters: a closer look at tragedies stemming from human error.
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and following tsunami were devastating in their own kind. There was virtually no way to prevent the disaster – it came too fast and there was little one could do but signal evacuation.
Today, mining is a very large and a very complex industry. It’s easy to imagine minters as a bunch of people in helmets with pickaxes, breaking rocks and minerals and searching for the coveted resources, but, in reality, there are a lot of different techniques used to mine different resources.
Oil spills are not uncommon. However, their scope varies greatly. Most are contained relatively quickly with minimal damage to the environment and personnel. Some, for whatever reason, cannot be fixed quickly, and that’s when the true danger of fossil fuel rears its head.
The 1947 Texas City disaster is the deadliest industrial accident in American history. On the morning of April 16, 1947, a fire broke out at the SS Grandcamp docked in port. The war recently ended, war-time supplies were still abundant, but something had to be done about that.
The Chernobyl disaster needs no introductions. You may be old enough to remember the day it happened, or you may be young enough to play video games inspired by the accident. One thing is certain – the fateful day, April 26, 1986, has echoed through history, leaving its mark on everything, from engineering to politics to popular culture.
Mining has always been a dangerous industry. With tunnels going deep underground, it poses several risks for those working at the mines – suffocation from noxious gases and structural collapse are the most common accidents. Unfortunately, such events are not uncommon. However, sometimes things can go wrong on a whole new level.
When someone thinks of the garment industry, the worst accident they imagine is something along the lines of fingers crushed or sewn together. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The deadliest disaster in the fashion business, also the worst industrial disaster in history of New York City happened March 25, 1911.
When it comes to explosives, danger is inherent. However, most of the time it’s those that use it – or those whom they’re used against – are at risk. The most devastating tragedy involving explosives in the pre-World War II world arguably was an accident at a Canadian port during the First World War.
The food industry may not sound as threatening as defense industry or mining or chemical processing, but when accidents happen, things may go very wrong nonetheless.