The industrial revolution has changed the world in both positive and negative ways. Unfortunately, it also has brought an increase in industrial accidents that have a lasting impact on communities and individuals. Here are five of the worst industrial accidents of all time which demonstrate the potential consequences when safety protocols and regulations are not adhered to.
Bhopal Disaster, 1984
On December 3, 1984, a toxic gas release from the UCIL plant for pesticides in Bhopal, India, resulted in one of the worst industrial accidents of all time. At least 3,800 people died within two weeks and 500,000 were injured by the toxic gas leak. The leak was caused by a combination of human error and mechanical failure.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster, 1986
The Chernobyl disaster was an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine that occurred on April 26th 1986. The accident released a large amount of radioactive material into the atmosphere resulting in extensive damage to the surrounding area. At least 30 workers were killed directly as a result of this accident while thousands more were exposed to radiation poisoning leading to cancer and other illnesses.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred on April 20th 2010 when an offshore drilling rig in Louisiana exploded, killing eleven people and releasing an estimated 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days before it could be capped. This environmental disaster affected local wildlife and inflicted economic losses estimated at $17 billion dollars making it one of the most costly industrial accidents ever recorded.
Texas City Refinery Explosion, 2005
In March 2005 an explosion ripped through BP’s Texas City refinery killing 15 people and injuring 170 more. It is widely accepted that inadequate safety measures contributed to this devastating accident which sent shockwaves through the local area. It led to a dramatic decrease in property values as well as long-term medical problems for those affected by the blast site contamination.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals Fire, 2012
In 2012 a major fire broke out at Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ San Diego manufacturing facility causing significant damage throughout both buildings. No one was killed but there were reports that several hundred employees suffered from smoke inhalation due to improper evacuation procedures during this incident. It has been described as one of California’s worst industrial accidents in recent memory.
Holding Companies Accountable
Environmental lawsuits managed by environmental tort attorneys have become a common part of the aftermath of industrial accidents. In many cases, individuals or organizations affected by an industrial disaster can take legal action against the responsible party. These legal claims often seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages due to sickness, property damage, and even emotional distress. Furthermore, these lawsuits are also aimed at holding corporations accountable by forcing them to properly clean up their mess and make sure that similar disasters don’t happen again.
The industrial accidents listed in this article are only a few of the many examples of how unchecked greed and negligence can lead to disastrous consequences.