Industrial & Nuclear Accidents

Uranium contaminated site collapsed into the Detroit River during the Thanksgiving holiday

By Kevin Reed, 7 December 2019

The public was not alerted to the existence of the toxic spill potentially affecting Detroit’s drinking water until a report was published this week by a local paper across the river in Windsor, Ontario.

Explosions at Texas petrochemical plant force over 40,000 to evacuate their homes

By Jacob Crosse, 30 November 2019

The Port Neches plant, owned by the Houston-based Texas Petroleum Chemical Group, has been out of compliance for years and fined multiple times by the Environmental Protection Agency.

New York Times magazine blames pilots for Boeing crashes

By Bryan Dyne, 24 September 2019

The article is an attempt to whitewash the profit-driven negligence of Boeing and complicity of the industry-dominated Federal Aviation Administration that led to two crashes of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and the deaths of 346 people.

One year since Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley gas explosions

By Mike Ingram, 20 September 2019

A year after a series of explosions left one city and two towns in Massachusetts burning, the impact is still being felt by residents.

070 Michigan workers crushed by granite slabs

13 September 2019

ArcelorMittal and state officials hid news of Indiana chemical spill

By Jessica Goldstein, 19 August 2019

Despite the posturing of local politicians, ArcelorMittal will likely receive no more than a slap on the wrist for its reckless polluting of the environment.

Questions continue over Russian nuclear accident

By Andrea Peters, 17 August 2019

The dangers associated with the rapidly accelerating global arms race are clear, even as questions remain over the nature of the nuclear explosion that occurred in Russia’s far north last week.

Paris’s Notre Dame fire: Two children test positive for lead poisoning

By Sam Dalton, 12 August 2019

The revelations are an indictment of the local Parisian government of Socialist Party mayor Anne Hidalgo and the national government of Emmanuel Macron.

UK: Major flooding narrowly averted after Toddbrook dam collapse

By Harvey Thompson, 9 August 2019

Whaley Bridge’s population and those in the wider area now live in the shadow of a dam in need of extensive repair, with authorities giving no concrete information as to when work will be completed.

Peak District residents speak on Toddbrook dam collapse in UK

“That dam could have gone in the middle of the night and at least 600 people would have died”

By our reporters, 9 August 2019

Those evacuated from Whaley Bridge and other areas after the nearby dam collapse were sent to Chapel High School in the town and were allowed to return home on Wednesday.

Factory explosion in central Chinese city kills 15

By Robert Campion, 30 July 2019

Claims by authorities to address safety after such industrial accidents have proven to be empty words.

Fire forces evacuation at Saginaw, Michigan General Motors plant

By Tim Rivers, 29 July 2019

Workers at the Saginaw Metal Casting Operations, the site of the fire, have been saddled with a “competitive operating agreement” aimed at undermining working conditions in order to cut costs and drive up GM profits.

Indonesian factory fire claims lives of 30 women and children

By Owen Howell, 6 July 2019

The tragic deaths of factory employees is yet another example of the national government showing its indifference for the working poor.

Miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster

HBO’s Chernobyl: The Soviet working class pays for the crimes of Stalinism

By Andrea Peters, 15 June 2019

Director Johan Renck and scriptwriter Craig Mazin capture the reality of the explosion that tore open the facility’s nuclear reactor core and spewed radioactive material over large swathes of the western USSR and Europe.

Safety expert says fatal crane collapse in Dallas, Texas could have been avoided

By Tim Rivers, 12 June 2019

Tom Barth, a noted crane safety expert, told the WSWS that the deadly collapse might have been prevented had appropriate precautions been taken.

At least 116 injured in Russia factory explosions

By Clara Weiss, 4 June 2019

The blasts at the factory, which produces explosives for the Russian military, shattered windows in hundreds of buildings over a radius of at least 3 kilometers.

Death of a Los Angeles dockworker

By Rafael Azul, 20 May 2019

The death of Joseph Santoyo and severe injury to Pedro Chavarin at the Los Angeles port of San Pedro occurred in the midst of speed-ups and the destruction of working conditions.

Factory fire symptomatic of social devastation in Calwell electorate

By Peter Byrne: SEP candidate for Calwell, 14 May 2019

“Where factories once employed workers who actually made things, they are now rented and filled with toxic waste, then abandoned.”

Boeing continues to whitewash 737 crashes

By Bryan Dyne, 8 May 2019

Aviation journalist Rytis Beresnevičius: “The press release is just Boeing shifting the blame somewhere else. They are defending their greed.”

Horrific plant explosion kills at least three workers in northern Chicago suburb

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 May 2019

The 30,000-square foot plant was located close to residential areas, where witnesses reported power outages and structural and other property damage in nearby buildings.

Crane collapse in Seattle claims four lives

By Scott Burris and Tim Rivers, 30 April 2019

A huge tower crane at a block of buildings under construction for Google in Seattle collapsed on Saturday, killing four and injuring four others.

“Why did Boeing make it like that? Pure negligence and greed. There is simply no other answer.”

Aviation reporter Rytis Beresnevičius speaks to WSWS on Boeing 737 crashes

By Bryan Dyne, 20 April 2019

Rytis Beresnevičius has closely followed the two recent Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes and the engineering, executive and regulatory decisions that led to these disasters.

Deadly week for construction workers in New York City

By Mark Witkowski, 18 April 2019

In the space of less than a week three construction workers were killed, as the building boom in the city continues to claim the lives and limbs of workers.

Massive gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina leaves 1 dead, 17 injured

By Jacob Crosse, 11 April 2019

An evacuation order was given only a few minutes before an explosion leveled one building and damaged four others.

Australia: Another toxic factory fire endangers working-class suburbs

By Peter Byrne, 10 April 2019

Every sphere of social life is now subject to corporate profiteering, including the disposal of hazardous waste.

Boeing CEO praised “streamlined” oversight of 737 plane that crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia

By Barry Grey, 6 April 2019

Muilenberg’s praise for the gutting of government oversight points to the subordination of safety concerns to profit and the transformation of regulatory agencies into rubber stamps for the corporations.

Office workers killed in building fires in Bangladesh

By Rohantha De Silva, 6 April 2019

Hundreds of residents have been killed or injured in recent years by the regularly occurring fires in the city.

Another steelworker killed at ArcelorMittal in Indiana

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 April 2019

Fleming’s death is the 392nd to occur at the mill, which has operated since 1902.

One worker killed, two injured in chemical plant explosion in Houston, Texas

By Shelley Connor, 4 April 2019

James Mangum was killed and two other workers were critically injured when a storage tank in a Crosby, Texas chemical plant exploded on Tuesday.

Amazon Air cargo flight crashes after vicious cost-cutting

By Erik Schreiber, 2 April 2019

The immediate cause of a cargo flight crash near Houston is as yet unknown, but it took place in the context of management’s relentless attacks on workers’ pay and on safety standards.

Houston chemical fire: Residents ordered to “shelter-in-place” due to benzene danger

By Jacob Crosse, 22 March 2019

Residents of Deer Park and Galena Park, east of the Texas city, have been the most affected by the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company.

Massive Houston chemical fire burns indefinitely, spreading smoke across Texas

By Trévon Austin, 20 March 2019

With at least seven tanks still ablaze, officials have categorized the situation as “volatile.”

Canada: Train derailment kills three, exposes terrible working conditions

By Penny Smith, 16 March 2019

CP Rail is lobbying Transport Canada to abandon a new rule it introduced following last month’s derailment, calling it too "time-consuming."

Another devastating fire kills at least 80 in Bangladesh capital

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 22 February 2019

The inferno was fuelled by chemicals stored in the area, despite repeated government promises of crackdowns on building code violations.

Michigan steelworker dies after falling into vat of sulfuric acid

By Shannon Jones, 12 February 2019

Daniel Hill died over the weekend after falling into a vat of highly dangerous sulfuric acid while being trained for a new job at Michigan Seamless Tube in South Lyon.

Newport, Rhode Island: Enbridge natural gas pipeline failure put thousands at risk

By John Marion, 5 February 2019

In late January, Newport joined the list of cities in New England that have been put at risk or damaged because of dilapidated natural gas infrastructure.

Hundreds missing, 58 dead in Brazil mine disaster

By Gabriel Lemos, 28 January 2019

The population of Brumadinho and all of Brazil reacted with anger and revulsion against this tragedy.

Ninety three dead and dozens in critical condition from Mexico pipeline explosion

By Andrea Lobo, 23 January 2019

The tragedy is a direct result of the reactionary and militaristic policies of the López Obrador government to accelerate the privatization of the country’s oil.

22 January 2019

5,147 workers died at work in the United States in 2017

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 December 2018

The findings of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and a report on the underreporting of workplace fatalities are a glaring indictment of the capitalist system.

Industrial accident claims three lives in Leduc, Alberta

By Penny Smith, 15 December 2018

The industrial tragedy in Leduc is just one among many fatal incidents that occur at worksites across Canada on a daily basis. In 2016, more than 900 workers died on the job.

Thousands remain homeless after Columbia Gas disaster in Massachusetts

By John Marion, 28 November 2018

More than 5,000 people are still unable to return to their homes after a series of explosions ripped through the Merrimack Valley in September.

Worker injured in explosion at ArcelorMittal steel mill in Indiana

By Jessica Goldstein, 7 November 2018

The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal have remained silent on the injury of a worker at the largest steel mill in North America.

Ford worker dies of apparent workplace injury at Chicago Heights stamping plant

By Alexander Fangmann, 26 October 2018

The death adds to the growing toll exacted by dangerous working conditions related to the drive by Ford, abetted by the UAW, to increase production and profits.

Massachusetts: National Grid joins roster of companies risking customers’ lives

By John Marion, 15 October 2018

Another incident by a gas utility has been linked to overpressurization of gas lines.

Deadliest US transportation incident since 2009

Limo in crash that killed 20 owned by FBI terror “sting” operative

By Josh Varlin, 10 October 2018

The limo company, owned by a valued FBI agent provocateur, had failed 80 percent of inspections over the last two years, yet remained in business.

One week since gas explosions in Merrimack Valley

More than 85,000 Massachusetts residents could be without gas service for months

By John Marion, 22 September 2018

Governor Baker and Columbia Gas announced Friday that the restoration process may not be complete until November 19, leaving thousands of households and small businesses without gas for heat, hot water and cooking.

Thousands remain evacuated after gas explosions rip through three Massachusetts towns

By Kate Randall, 15 September 2018

As many as 80 buildings were burned as terrified residents reported either a blaze, an explosion, or the smell of gas.

Tragic house fire takes three lives in Lincoln Park, Michigan

By Niles Niemuth, 14 August 2018

The victims of the fire that engulfed a house in the early morning hours Saturday include a woman two months pregnant, a family caretaker and a four-year-old boy.

Sixty-three-year-old pipeline worker killed in blast in Texas

By Jessica Goldstein, 10 August 2018

Bud Taylor, a 63-year-old pipeline worker, was killed in a natural gas pipeline blast in Texas that left six others seriously injured.

Steam pipe explosion in Manhattan spreads asbestos

By Sandy English, 23 July 2018

The accident is the latest in a series that points to the decay of the physical infrastructure in New York.

Seventeen dead in Missouri after duck boat sinks during thunderstorm

By Jacob Crosse, 21 July 2018

Multiple safety warnings were ignored for the sake of ticket sales.

Families forced to rely on charity after Wisconsin explosion

By Jacob Crosse, 17 July 2018

The investigation into last week's explosion in Sun Prairie that killed one firefighter is still “ongoing,” with little information being released to the public.

050 Wisconsin gas explosion follow-up

14 July 2018

030 US auto parts plant explosion

15 May 2018

Nashville, Tennessee construction workers experience deadliest two-year period in decades

By Warren Duzak, 15 May 2018

Sixteen construction workers were killed on projects in Nashville between 2016 and 2017 with two more fatalities so far in 2018.

“This is the deadliest plant I’ve ever worked in”

Injured Flat Rock Ford worker was shifted to dangerous job with almost no training

By Jerry White, 9 May 2018

Ford workers at the Flat Rock plant rebelled when management tried to restart production after a horrific accident in the early hours of May 4.

Two injured in massive fire, explosion at Michigan auto parts plant

By Tom Hall, 9 May 2018

Last week’s firestorm at the Meridian Magnesium plant in Eaton Rapids exposes the dangerous conditions faced by auto parts workers.

Five die after exposure to ammonia gas at Sri Lankan latex factory

By our reporters, 23 April 2018

The number of industrial accidents across South Asia has grown substantially over recent decades as a result of lax safety practices and super-exploitation.

One passenger dead after engine explodes during Southwest Airlines flight

By Alec Andersen, 19 April 2018

Ultimate responsibility for Tuesday’s incident lies in the subordination of passenger safety to the drive of the airlines for ever greater profits.

Two crew members killed in South Carolina train crash

By Jeff Lusanne, 5 February 2018

An Amtrak train operating on a CSX railroad was mistakenly sent into the path of a freight train on Sunday, killing the crew and injuring over 100 passengers.

Bodies of five workers recovered at site of Oklahoma gas well blast

By Jerry White, 24 January 2018

The victims ranged from new floor hands to veteran oil and gas workers.

Indian factory fire kills 17 workers

By W. A. Sunil, 24 January 2018

Women and children were trapped inside the building because illegal constructions blocked their escape.

Five missing after Oklahoma drilling rig explosion

By Matthew Taylor, 23 January 2018

The explosion occurs only weeks after the Trump administration moved to roll back regulations on off-shore oil drilling implemented in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that killed eleven workers.

At least three dead as Amtrak train derails over Interstate 5 in Washington

By Trévon Austin, 19 December 2017

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in the accident, which resulted in at least three deaths and scores of injuries.

Worker killed at ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas

By Trévon Austin, 6 December 2017

The worker’s death highlights deteriorating safety standards in the oil industry, which have only worsened due to the collaboration of the United Steelworkers union.

Tennessee auto parts workers and their families exposed to cancer-causing chemicals

By Warren Duzak, 10 November 2017

Tenneco officials told workers they had been exposed to hexavalent chromium and had likely carried the toxic waste home with them.

Fire officials were aware of hazards prior to toxic Parkersburg, West Virginia warehouse blaze

By Warren Duzak, 4 November 2017

Years in advance of a toxic warehouse blaze that forced mass evacuations and sickened scores of Parkersburg residents, local fire officials had attempted to sound the alarm about the hazards.

Dozens of cleanup workers dying of cancer after 2008 Tennessee coal ash spill

By Keisha Gibbs, 29 September 2017

Workers involved in cleaning up the massive coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee, are suing after at least 17 have died and dozens more have been diagnosed with cancer.

Three Wisconsin workers die in corn mill explosion, several more seriously injured

By Gary Joad, 3 June 2017

Federal agencies have cited the company for multiple safety and environmental violations as far back as the early 2000s.

035 Wisconsin Mill explosion

2 June 2017

US Steel plant in Indiana spills contaminated wastewater into Lake Michigan

By Benjamin Mateus, 14 April 2017

The leakage of wastewater containing the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium led to beach closures and the shutdown of a drinking water intake.

Two workplace explosions kill four workers in Louisiana

By J. L’Heureau, 14 February 2017

Lax safety regulations coupled with deteriorating equipment continue to jeopardize the lives of workers in Louisiana.

Flamanville nuclear plant explosion exposes crisis in French nuclear industry

By Anthony Torres, 10 February 2017

Thursday morning an explosion in the machine shop of the Flamanville nuclear plant started a fire that was only brought under control after midday.

Sinkhole in Detroit suburb highlights decay of US infrastructure

By a WSWS reporting team, 30 December 2016

The rupture of a sewer line in the north Detroit suburb of Fraser forced the evacuation of at least 22 homes over the Christmas weekend.

Construction scaffolding collapses, killing 74 at Chinese power plant

By Richard Phillips, 26 November 2016

The disaster was the tragic outcome of company demands for “hard work” speed-ups and cuts to basic safety procedures.

Chattanooga school bus tragedy: The human cost of capitalist decay

By Fred Mazelis, 24 November 2016

Three dozen children from the Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga were headed home when their bus crashed into a tree and was nearly sliced in half.

US transit agency launched safety probe before fatal New Jersey train crash

By Alan Whyte, 3 October 2016

The Federal Railroad Administration began an audit of the New Jersey Transit rail system in June, fining it nearly $335,000 for 33 federal regulation safety violations in 2013-2015.

Chinese power plant explosion kills 21

By John Braddock, 15 August 2016

The incident at a coal-fired plant is the most recent of the industrial disasters that kill and maim thousands of workers and residents in China each year.

Eleven workers hospitalized after chemical leak at Nestlé plant in Illinois

By George Gallanis, 18 June 2016

The Nestlé Willy Wonka candy manufacturing plant in Itasca, Illinois, was evacuated early Friday morning after a burst pipe leaked out lithium chloride.

Two dead and dozens injured in Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia

By Alan Whyte, 4 April 2016

Two Amtrak workers were killed and 35 passengers injured Sunday in the latest wreck involving the national passenger rail system.

Five years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, TEPCO executives charged

By Ben McGrath, 10 March 2016

As it seeks to reopen the country’s nuclear plants, the government is opposing even the limited charges of negligence in connection with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Federal report criticizes lack of regulation and safety in West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion

By Stuart Winter, 11 February 2016

Fifteen died and more than 160 were injured in the 2013 blast.

Crane collapses in Manhattan, killing one and injuring three

By Alan Whyte, 6 February 2016

One person was killed and three others hurt when a 565-foot crane collapsed in lower Manhattan Friday morning.

Seven confirmed dead in industrial landslide in Shenzhen, China

By Will Morrow, 30 December 2015

The response of the Chinese regime is aimed at diverting attention from the broader social and political implications of the disaster.

Dozens of Chinese miners killed in three accidents

By Ben McGrath, 29 December 2015

The callous disregard for the safety of miners, resulting in a series of mine explosions and cave-ins, is a product of the drive to cut production costs and boost profits.

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.