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Major industrial accidents
Learning from the “gift of failure”


BLEVE on a LPG wagon

A major source of progress in industrial safety is provided by major accidents and the lessons learned from analyzing the causal factors that combined to allow the accident to occur. Analysis of accidents allows industry operators to improve their design, operation and safety management activities, and provides the necessary impetus to regulators to update safety regulations.

In these slides, we focus on a number of accidents where the technical or technological contribution was significant, since these factors are the main focus of this module. Most major accidents in high-hazard industries are analyzed in terms of the organizational or cultural factors that led to the disaster, rather than a single technical failure or human error.

This submodule is a part of the hazard analysis module.

Course material

Major industrial accidents

Lecture slides (PDF)

Other resources

We recommend the following sources of further information on this topic:

  • The CSB website includes reports on many major accidents in the chemical and onshore oil and gas sectors in the USA. They also publish a number of pedagogical videos that explain the accident sequence and contributing factors.