As the title suggests, there have been numerous accidents that were made unknowingly because of the faults in machinery and equipment. We all have seen incidents in the past where even an insignificant mistake can lead to some horrific accidents.
One such incident took place on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, US and later went on to be known as the worst nuclear accident in American History. The Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown happened because of the combined effect of the failure of equipment in the plant, the plant operator’s inability to find and understand the problem, and the condition of the reactor at that time of the incident. The reactor was overheating and had a malfunctioning relief valve, which led to the depressurization of the primary reactor cooling system and caused a partial meltdown, releasing radioactive substances into the open ambience.
This nuclear power disaster only got fixed after 14 years, and since then, there’s still fear in the minds of the public 46 years after the incident. Experts have even claimed that the island is still radioactive to this day.
Some of the consequences of the accident involved people having constant nausea, headaches, and allegedly even suicidal tendencies. These side effects were prominently caused due to the release of radioactive gas. There was an immediate evacuation of the residents after this cataclysmic event, and fortunately, no one lost their lives to this major accident. Casualties aside, the economic loss was about 836.9 million USD, and with inflation adjustment, it comes out to be a loss of around 2.8 billion USD.
Another such incident was one that soon became well known as the site of the world’s most lethal offshore disaster: the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster in the year 1988. It was the worst offshore accident in terms of loss of lives and industrial impact and is one of the costliest man-made catastrophes. The primary cause of this incident was the improper maintenance and unsafe drilling procedures that were carried out on one of the high-pressure condensate pumps and safety valves. During a regime check, inspectors removed and replaced all the safety valves except for one, which was never put back. Unaware that the safety valve was missing, a worker pushed the start button, and gas shortly began to leak out. This was the reason for the explosion, fire, and blowouts that led to a dreadful loss of the lives of around 167 people. While 61 people escaped and managed to survive, it took over three weeks for the fire to be extinguished. The money lost due to the blunder was easily in the range of billions. It was a jaw-dropping moment for everyone when it was estimated that the economic loss for this accident was about 3.4 billion USD, and the cost was 5.1 billion USD.
From the above incidents, we come to realize that while what happened in these accidents was unfortunate, they were man-made blunders which could have been easily avoided. So in the future let us be more cautious and keen in what we do and hope for the best. The unexpected can’t be stopped, but we can get rid of it, and come out of it by being cautious of the mistakes that have been made in the past.