Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 2

Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 2

If you thought our previous blog was interesting, keep on reading. Here are some more workplace disaster stories that have occurred throughout the US:

Scofield, Utah Mine Disaster

This story is likely one you’ve already heard before since it happened here in our backyard. The first day of May in 1900 was a terrible one for Winter Quarters coal mine and all of Carbon County. Black powder exploded unexpectedly in the No. 4 mine shaft. It ignited coal dust which helped spread the fire quickly to other parts of the mine. Some miners died immediately from the blast, many with their tools still in their hands when they were discovered. Many others died from asphyxiation from the toxic fumes. Some miners headed toward the source as a rescue effort and died from the gases, and others were stuck deep in the mine and couldn’t escape. Over 200 men were killed, and it took almost 20 minutes to get through the debris just to reach the entrance. One miner was blasted 820 feet away from the mine opening, showing how massive the impact was. Safety wasn’t a top priority at this time for coal mining, luckily this is no longer the case.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Another story you probably remember is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. In April 2010, a natural gas surge sparked an explosion in a newly installed concrete core. The natural gas traveled up to the platform and ignited, killing 11 people and injuring 17. Shortly after, on April 22, the rig capsized and sank. The result was the creation of the largest marine oil spill in history. US government officials estimated the leak to have peaked at about 60,000 barrels of spilled oil each day, forming a slick that extended over 57,000 square miles and polluting over 1,100 miles of shoreline. It took about 3 months to stop the flow of oil.

Collapse of Pemberton Mill

January of 1860 was devastating for Lawrence, Massachusetts residents. The tragedy started off with textile workers at the Pemberton Mill hearing odd rattling noises then a massive and long crashing sound. A part of the building’s wall buckled and exploded causing the mill to collapse in seconds. Machinery weighing tons fell through the floors, bringing terrified workers with it. The Boston Journal reported that the collapse formed at 50-foot-high pyramid of debris. Almost the entire community rushed to the site to help the hundreds of workers, which included many women and children. Over 140 people were killed and about 300 more were severely injured. The mill has been completely rebuilt and still stands today.

Accidents on the job can and do happen. Tragedies like these are not common occurrences, but our goal is to prevent them at all costs. Proper training for your employees and keeping in compliance with rules and regulations are must-dos for all businesses in order to stay as safe as possible. Shield-Safety is Utah’s leading resource for the most up-to-date and applicable workplace training.

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