“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  — George Santayana

Our offices on Cherokee Street exist in the midst of a vibrant Hispanic community. So here in our neighborhood, Dia de los Muertos is in getting in full swing and will be observed through November 2. Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a time to honor and remember the deceased. Inspired by our neighbors, we take Dia de los Muertos as a time to think about the catastrophes that have stricken the process industries, to remember why we do what we do.

June 1, 1974 – Flixborough, England
Nypro explosion
28 dead

December 3, 1984 – Bhopal, India
Union Carbide methyl isocyanate release
Thousands dead

July 6, 1988 – North Sea
Piper Alpha disaster
167 dead

October 23, 1989 – Pasadena, Texas
Phillips refinery explosions and fire
23 dead

March 23, 2005 – Texas City, Texas
BP refinery explosion
15 dead

December 19, 2007 – Jacksonville, Florida
T2 Laboratories explosion and fire
4 dead

February 7, 2008 – Port Wentworth, Georgia
Imperial Sugar dust explosion
13 dead

April 20, 2010 – Gulf of Mexico
Deepwater Horizon blowout
11 dead

April 17, 2013 – West, Texas
West Fertilizer ammonium nitrate explosion
15 dead

June 23, 2013 – Geismar, Louisiana
Williams Olefin explosion
2 dead

July 6, 2013 – Lac-Mégantic, Quebec
MM&A derailment and explosion
47 dead

October 17, 2016 – Ludwigshafen, Germany
BASF pipeline explosion
4 dead

March 21, 2019 – Xiagnshui, China
Tianjiayl Chemical plant explosion
78 dead

Remember and Honor the Dead

This is by no means a complete list—it’s just the list of catastrophes that come to mind for those of us here at Bluefield Process Safety. But each incident is a grim reminder. The best way we know to honor these dead is to redouble our efforts to learn from their deaths and to do our utmost to prevent a repeat of theses tragedies. We encourage you to do the same.