Industrial & Nuclear Accidents

Manhattan Project fallout: Nuclear waste health catastrophe in St. Louis, Missouri

By Gary Joad, 27 November 2015

Nuclear waste dumps from the Manhattan Project have resulted in clustering of unusually high cancer rates in younger people and children.

Death at Decatur tubing plant highlights unsafe working conditions in Alabama

By Shelley Connor, 6 November 2015

The death of Tim Cooper at Independence Tube is only the latest in a string of industrial accidents caused by unsafe working conditions in Alabama.

Scores killed in Pakistani textile factory collapse in Lahore

By our correspondent, 6 November 2015

At least 21 workers were killed and dozens injured, and fears are increasing that the death toll will go up once the clearing of debris is completed.

Worker killed in another Chinese factory explosion

By Ben McGrath, 25 August 2015

This latest incident in Shandong province drives home the disregard for safety in China’s factories in the pursuit of profit.

China: Details emerge of safety violations and corruption in Tianjin

By James Cogan, 21 August 2015

The warehouse that exploded was only able to operate because of the owners’ political connections.

Chinese official, company managers under investigation after Tianjin disaster

By James Cogan, 19 August 2015

China’s national director of the State Administration of Work Safety, Yang Dongliang, has been removed from his position.

Chinese regime seeks to censor outrage over Tianjin disaster

By James Cogan, 18 August 2015

A major reason for the popular anger is the reality that a catastrophe of similar or greater dimensions could occur any day, in any number of Chinese cities and towns.

The Tianjin explosions and the discrediting of capitalism

By James Cogan, 15 August 2015

The promises that the Chinese masses would ultimately benefit from rampant capitalist development are lying in tatters.

Washington, DC: Government officials prepare whitewash of fatal Metro accident

By Joe Williams, 5 August 2015

Public officials are trying to deny that poor maintenance and underfunding may have caused an accident that resulted in one death and over 100 injuries.

Fourth body recovered from UK factory explosion

By Margot Miller, 31 July 2015

Just two weeks before the explosion decimated the factory, local council enforcement officers ordered a clean-up of the facility.

Berkeley, California balcony collapse kills six

By David Brown, 17 June 2015

Several observers have pointed to signs of dry rot in the wooden support beams exposed by the collapse, possibly due to inadequate waterproofing.

Pipeline rupture causes oil spill in California

By Gabriel Black, 22 May 2015

State officials say that at least 21,000 gallons of oil has reached the sea, causing an oil slick that spans nine miles.

The Amtrak disaster and America’s crumbling infrastructure

By Andre Damon, 16 May 2015

Tuesday’s derailment of an Amtrak train on America’s busiest rail route has exposed before the whole world the dilapidated state of infrastructure in the United States.

Fire erupts at nuclear power plant outside of New York City

By Daniel de Vries, 12 May 2015

The third major fire in eight years broke out at the nuclear facility, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the Hudson River.

Massive fire at Chinese chemical factory

By Ben McGrath, 11 April 2015

Industrial accidents in China are a regular occurrence amid the corporate drive to boost profits at the expense of safety and health standards.

At least four killed in PEMEX explosion in Gulf of Mexico

By Jake Dean, 2 April 2015

The oil rig disaster has unfolded in the midst of Mexico’s accelerating privatization of its state-owned oil firm, PEMEX.

Death of Louisiana refinery worker exposes USW treachery in oil strike

By Tom Hall, 31 March 2015

The death at Valero’s St. Charles refinery occurred as the United Steelworkers began winding down the strike at Motiva’s Norco refinery, which lies directly across the street.

US federal study predicts ten oil derailments per year

By Jeff Lusanne, 24 February 2015

A Department of Transportation report predicts derailments could occur near populated areas and cause fatalities.

Oil trains derail and burst into flames in Canada, US

By Jeff Lusanne, 18 February 2015

Major railroads are pursuing attacks on railroad workers at the expense of working conditions and safety.

Japan: Two workers killed at TEPCO nuclear plants in Fukushima

By Ben McGrath, 26 January 2015

The deaths are another reminder of the ongoing dangers at the tsunami-affected Fukushima Daiichi complex, and the official disregard for workers’ health and safety.

Washington, DC subway disaster kills one, injures 84

By Gabriel Black, 14 January 2015

An electrical malfunction left passengers trapped in a train filled with heavy smoke.

Oil rig fire in Oklahoma kills two workers, critically burns two others

By Evan Blake, 20 December 2014

All five casualties of the incident were employees of drilling contractor Dan D. Drilling, which promotes itself as a “cost conscious” service provider.

Injured Boeing contract worker dies in Washington state

By Angelo Bosworth and Hector Cordon, 11 December 2014

Ken Otto died Sunday due to injuries suffered while working on a Boeing jet in November

Death of 15-year-old exposes growing use of child labour by Canadian employers

By Ashley Tseng, 26 November 2014

The fatality at an Alberta gravel-crushing site has exposed the myth that child labour is a problem only in the developing world.

Wyoming coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 22 October 2014

The death at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine was the 13th US coal mining fatality this year

Deadly gas explosion in Taiwanese city kills dozens

By Ben McGrath, 6 August 2014

Powerful blasts left deep craters throughout the city of Kaohsiung, destroying roads and homes and leaving thousands without electricity, water, or gas.

Steelworkers union covers for death of contract worker at New York aluminum plant

By Sam Davidson and Steve Filips, 26 July 2014

Steven Cooper, a contract worker in the Novelis Aluminum plant in Upstate New York, was killed June 30 while working at the plant’s remelt and recycling area.

Subway disaster in Moscow kills 22

By David Levine, 16 July 2014

The largest-ever accident on the Moscow subway system occurred Tuesday when a train derailed, killing 22 and leaving 130 hospitalized.

Cargo train derails in Mexico, stranding 1,300 migrants

By Kevin Martinez, 12 July 2014

Wednesday's accident was at least the third derailment of trains carrying migrants across Mexico since last month.

Government and corporate officials continue to deflect blame for Lac-Mégantic train disaster

By Carl Bronski, 11 July 2014

One year after 47 people died in the Lac-Mégantic train disaster, Canada’s Conservative government continues to deny any culpability.

Murder trial of Sewol captain begins in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 17 June 2014

The captain of the capsized South Korean ferry is being made a scapegoat to deflect attention from the government’s responsibility for the lack of safety.

South Korean opposition exploits ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 26 May 2014

The opposition NPAD is just as responsible as the Park administration for the undermining of safety standards that led to the sinking.

Quebec charges employees, not owners, of railroad in Lac-Mégantic tragedy

By Jeff Lusanne, 20 May 2014

Charges of criminal negligence have been filed against three employees of the now-bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railroad, but not its CEO and principal shareholder.

The Turkish catastrophe and the global mining slaughterhouse

By Jerry White, 16 May 2014

The horrific mine explosion in Turkey is not an unexplainable “accident” but the inevitable result of privatization, government neglect and the capitalist profit system.

West Virginia mine had appalling safety record

By Clement Daly, 16 May 2014

The West Virginia mine where two miners died earlier this week had an appalling safety record with hundreds of violations and injuries.

Explosion at Turkish coal mine kills at least 238

By Thomas Gaist, 14 May 2014

With more than 100 miners still trapped underground, Turkey's energy minister said hopes for rescue were "dimming."

Two West Virginia coal miners killed in roof collapse

By Naomi Spencer, 14 May 2014

Two miners were killed at a mine owned by Patriot Coal Monday night after the collapse of a roof and wall.

Japan: Fukushima worker sues TEPCO over radiation exposure

By Will Morrow, 12 May 2014

The lawsuit comes amid growing anger among workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, dangerous conditions and low pay.

At least 16 killed in Colombian mine disaster

By Bill Van Auken, 6 May 2014

For the Santos government, the issue is not one of workers’ safety, but rather of its deals with transnational mining companies.

South Korean subway collision leaves 238 injured

By Ben McGrath, 5 May 2014

Less than three weeks after the sinking of the Sewol ferry, two subway trains collided in northern Seoul following a mechanical failure.

South Korean prime minister resigns over ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 28 April 2014

Chung’s resignation is designed to deflect popular anger away from President Park Geun-hye’s administration.

63,000 US bridges deemed structurally deficient

By Matthew MacEgan, 28 April 2014

A new report reveals that more than 63,000 bridges are in need of repair and that these bridges are crossed by more than 250 million vehicles each day.

West, Texas explosion and deaths called “preventable”

By Matthew MacEgan, 26 April 2014

The US Chemical and Safety Board released a report stating that the blast was completely preventable and resulted from a combination of faulty planning and negligence.

South Korean government accused of inaction after ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 23 April 2014

In an attempt to divert attention from the government, President Park condemned the actions of the crew as “akin to murder.”

Anger of victims’ families mounts over South Korean ferry disaster

By Ben McGrath, 21 April 2014

While the official death toll continues to climb, families of the victims are increasingly angry at the government and the ferry company.

Search crew finds location but not source of leak at New Mexico nuclear waste storage site

By D. Lencho, 21 April 2014

Over two months after airborne radiation at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was detected and 21 workers were exposed, the location of the contamination was found on April 16.

268 still missing after South Korean ferry disaster

By Tom Eley, 19 April 2014

Hope has dimmed for finding survivors among the 268 passengers missing from Wednesday’s sinking of the South Korean ferry The Sewol.

One year since the West, Texas chemical blast

By Gabriel Black, 19 April 2014

The town of West, despite the best efforts of its residents, is millions of dollars short of what it needs to rebuild.

Chicago Transit Authority wreck raises questions of safety equipment and operator fatigue

By Jeff Lusanne, 31 March 2014

A CTA derailment injured 32 passengers and could have been far worse.

As BP receives new contracts for Gulf Coast

Oil spill threatens Houston-area wildlife

By Tom Hall, 26 March 2014

Twenty-five years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, oil industry and government practices continue to threaten the environment.

New Jersey motel fire kills Hurricane Sandy evacuees

By Philip Guelpa, 24 March 2014

A fire at a New Jersey motel Friday killed and injured Hurricane Sandy evacuees who had not been able to return to their homes due to the inadequate and corrupt government recovery program.

Investigations into Lac-Mégantic rail disaster show government culpability

By Carl Bronski, 14 March 2014

A series of investigations into last July’s train disaster have demonstrated that governments and regulatory bodies consistently privileged corporate profitability over basic safety.

Japanese government signals restart of nuclear power plants

By Will Morrow, 10 March 2014

Three years after the Fukushima disaster, the Abe government is riding roughshod over overwhelming popular opposition to the nuclear industry.

Thirteen workers exposed to radiation at New Mexico nuclear waste site

By Jake Dean, 5 March 2014

The latest incident is another reminder of the hazards involved with nuclear waste.

Company responsible for West Virginia chemical spill plans to liquidate

By Clement Daly, 3 March 2014

Freedom Industries—the company responsible for the January 9 chemical spill that contaminated the water for 300,000 West Virginians—recently announced it plans to liquidate.

Japan: New radioactive water leak at Fukushima

By Will Morrow, 24 February 2014

No faith can be placed in any of TEPCO’s claims about the extent of radioactive material that has reached the environment.

FEMA cuts aid to West Virginians affected by chemical spill

By Nick Barrickman, 19 February 2014

The Obama administration has done everything in its power to shelter negligent energy corporations as they move to defend their profits in the wake of disasters caused by their own policies.

More than 100,000 gallons released in West Virginia coal slurry spill

By Clement Daly, 14 February 2014

More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry—a toxic liquid mixture of cleaning chemicals and coal refuse—contaminated about six miles of a stream in Kanawha County.

Coal ash spill in North Carolina threatens population

By Nick Barrickman, 8 February 2014

A major leak has been discovered at an inactive coal ash disposal site near the Dan River.

West Virginia water crisis continues as second chemical is identified

By Clement Daly, 23 January 2014

Freedom Industries—the company responsible for the January 9 chemical spill just outside Charleston, West Virginia—has told state regulators that the leak also contained polyglycol ethers, or PPH.

Omaha factory where fatal accident occurred had record of safety violations

By Sean West, 22 January 2014

The International Nutrition plant, where two workers were killed in an explosion and partial building collapse Monday, has been repeatedly cited for safety infractions.

Two workers confirmed dead in Omaha factory explosion

By Rafael Azul, 21 January 2014

Two workers were killed and more are missing and presumed dead in an animal feed plant explosion in Omaha, Nebraska.

Problems remain as water is restored in West Virginia

By Clement Daly, 21 January 2014

Residents and parents of children in schools scheduled to reopen are worried about the safety of drinking water, two weeks after a chemical spill that entered the water supply.

Company responsible for West Virginia chemical spill declares bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 20 January 2014

On Friday, Freedom Industries—the company responsible for the chemical leak which poisoned the water of 300,000 West Virginians—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

An exchange with the Bangladeshi ambassador to the US

By K. Ratnayake, 17 January 2014

The WSWS replies to criticisms by Bangladesh’s ambassador of an article detailing the plight of the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.

The West Virginia chemical disaster

By Andre Damon, 15 January 2014

The release of a toxic coal-treatment chemical into the drinking water in West Virginia is only the latest disaster resulting from the dismantling of corporate regulation.

Lack of regulation behind West Virginia water disaster

By Nick Barrickman, 14 January 2014

The West Virginia chemical storage facility had not been inspected for decades.

North Dakota train explosion raises questions about oil transport safety

By Jeff Lusanne, 4 January 2014

The second large explosion of crude oil being shipped by rail from the North Dakota oilfields shows that significant risks continue to go unaddressed by the industry or regulators.

Victims of Bangladesh building collapse neglected

By Wimal Perera, 3 January 2014

Many of the families have spent their limited compensation, leaving them in a desperate situation.

Germany: Controlled detonation results in death of three miners

By Marianne Arens, 8 October 2013

Once again, potash miners have lost their lives in the German state of Thuringia.

Fukushima leaks’ radioactivity 18 times higher than previously reported

By John Marion, 4 September 2013

Water leaking from Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear reactor is so radioactive that exposure to it for four hours would be deadly.

BP asks appeals court to throw out oil spill settlement

By Tom Hall, 3 September 2013

BP has requested that the courts throw out the entirety of the spill settlement if a separate appeal against “fraudulent claims” is unsuccessful.

TEPCO reports new leaks at Fukushima reactor

By John Marion, 28 August 2013

This latest threat to public health comes after revelations that radioactive water from underground storage tanks and groundwater has leaked into the ocean.

BP reneges on claims as environmental devastation persists in Gulf of Mexico

By Tom Hall, 14 August 2013

With the company’s profits declining, British Petroleum is attempting to avoid compensating people affected by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Contaminated water leaks into sea from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 7 August 2013

Japan’s nuclear regulatory authority has offered no solution to what it has declared as an emergency.

Spanish train crash driver accused of reckless homicide

By Alejandro López, 29 July 2013

The accepted legal position that someone is innocent until proven guilty has been all but brushed aside.

At least 80 killed in Spanish train crash

By Paul Mitchell, 26 July 2013

At least 80 people were killed and 140 injured Wednesday in Spain’s worst train crash in 40 years. The tragedy follows major cuts to the rail service, ahead of further major deregulation.

Gas rig fire off Louisiana coast

By Tom Eley, 26 July 2013

On Tuesday a gas rig located 55 miles off Louisiana’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico suffered a blowout and fire that continued to burn until Thursday afternoon

Canada: Safety Board issues tepid call for more oversight in wake of rail disaster

By Carl Bronski, 24 July 2013

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is urging the federal government to make “urgent” regulatory changes to improve railway safety in the wake of the Lac-Mégantic train disaster.

Canada’s newspapers whitewash government culpability in Lac-Mégantic tragedy

By Carl Bronski, 17 July 2013

The media is seeking to direct attention away from the role that corporate cost-cutting and government deregulation played in the explosion that left 50 people dead.

Rail boss scapegoats Lac-Mégantic, Quebec train driver

By Jeff Lusanne, 13 July 2013

Visiting Lac-Mégantic five days after Canada’s worst train disaster in decades, railway boss Ed Burkhardt sought to scapegoat the engineer of the runaway train.

The background to the Lac-Mégantic disaster: Deregulation, profit and the Canadian rail industry

By Carl Bronski, 11 July 2013

Despite a dramatic increase in the shipment of hazardous materials by rail, Transport Canada has slashed inspections.

Investigation of San Francisco plane crash underway

By Gabriel Black and James Brewer, 11 July 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun releasing details of its investigation into the crash landing of a South Korean airliner at San Francisco International Airport.

Rail CEO blames firefighters for Quebec oil train disaster

By Jeff Lusanne, 10 July 2013

It is now all but certain that last Saturday’s derailment, explosion, and fire in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec killed four dozen or more people, making it the deadliest train disaster in Canada in more than a century.

Two dead, 181 injured in San Francisco plane crash

By Gabriel Black, 8 July 2013

On Saturday, Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport.

Death toll rises in Quebec train derailment and explosion

By Jeff Lusanne, 8 July 2013

Five are confirmed dead and dozens remain unaccounted for after a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec causing a series of massive explosions.

FEMA refuses disaster relief to West, Texas

By Matthew MacEgan, 14 June 2013

The federal government has refused to provide additional money to help rebuild the small Texas town of West, where a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people in April.

Deadly chemical plant explosion in Louisiana

By Matthew MacEgan, 14 June 2013

On Thursday an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, killed at least one person and injured at least 73 others.

Bangladeshi police attack protesting garment workers

By Sarath Kumara, 12 June 2013

Police shot guns, fired tear gas and used batons to break up a protest by survivors of the April 24 Rana Plaza building collapse.

Building collapse in Philadelphia exposes corruption, lack of government oversight

By Tom Hall, 10 June 2013

While the media is attempting to scapegoat a lone construction worker, it is becoming increasingly clear that the disaster has roots in corporate corruption and the profit motive.

Philadelphia building collapse kills six

By Matthew MacEgan, 7 June 2013

On Wednesday, a vacant four-storey building being demolished in mid-town Philadelphia collapsed, killing 6 people and trapping 14 others under the wreckage.

130 out of work after seafood plant fire in Oregon

By Christine Schofelt, 7 June 2013

In addition to the workers directly employed in the plant itself, fishermen, crabbers and shrimpers in the area relied on Oregon Pacific Seafood for their livelihoods.

Federal, state officials stonewall investigation of West, Texas plant explosion

By Matthew MacEgan, 27 May 2013

A month after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in the city of West, Texas, killed 15 people, the ATF and the State Fire Marshall’s Office have virtually shut out investigators from the explosion site, hampering any kind of investigation.

Connecticut commuter rail collision injures 72

By Kate Randall, 20 May 2013

Some 700 people were on board the Metro-North trains in suburban New York when one derailed, causing the trains to collide.

Death toll in Bangladesh factory collapse reaches 950

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 10 May 2013

The authorities’ main concern is to downplay the rapidly rising casualty figures in the textile factory collapse, to cover up the scale of the disaster.

Global corporations and the Bangladesh building collapse

By Peter Symonds, 8 May 2013

The world’s retailing giants are engaged in a cynical PR exercise to distance themselves from the tragedy that has taken the lives of more than 700 people.

Bangladeshi government ends rescue operations in collapsed building

By Sarath Kumara, 1 May 2013

The government has ignored pleas from the relatives of victims who are still hoping that survivors will be found.

The Bangladesh factory collapse and the drive for profit

By K. Ratnayake, 27 April 2013

The tragedy is one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, but it will not be the last, as global corporations sacrifice workers’ safety to the requirements of profit.

Mass protests erupt in Bangladesh over factory collapse

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 April 2013

Hundreds of thousands of garment workers marched out of their factories yesterday, compelling plant owners to declare a day’s “holiday”.

Memorial for West, Texas victims obscures causes of fertilizer plant exlosion

By Naomi Spencer, 26 April 2013

The event served to conceal the criminal negligence behind the tragedy and put the bulk of the recovery costs onto the shoulders of survivors.