Top 10 deadliest industrial disasters


People die every day while doing their job. Either by accident, negligence, poor maintenance or incompetence. And sometimes things go terribly wrong, resulting in the immediate loss of many lives at a time. These events are often caused by explosions, collapse or flooding. In this list we examine the deadliest industrial disasters on record.

Many industries are only effective if their operations take place on a large scale, requiring strict safety regulations. But sometimes safety is a trade off when it comes to making profit. Either a project must be finished within a deadline, or when strict (safety) rules conflict with cost efficiency. Industrial disasters take place in many industries, most notably the (petro)chemical, defense and the energy industry. The last notorious industrial disaster took place only a month ago in Bangladesh, when a clothing factory collapsed, causing many fatalities. It entered the top 10 industrial disasters easily. But what are the deadliest industrial disasters by death toll? When and where did they take place? Here’s a top 10 deadliest industrial disasters.

Top 10 deadliest industrial disasters

  1. September 21, 1921: Oppau Explosion, Germany – 500 to 600 fatalities
  2. November 19, 1984: San Juanico Disaster, Mexico – 500 to 600 fatalities
  3. April 16, 1947: Texas City Disaster, United States – 578 fatalities
  4. March 10, 1906: Courri̬res Mine Disaster, France Р1,099 fatalities
  5. April 24, 2013: Savar Building Collapse, Bangladesh – 1,126 fatalities
  6. April 26, 1942: Benxihu Colliery Disaster, China – 1,549 fatalities
  7. October 9, 1963: Vajont Dam Disaster, Italy – 1,900 to 2,500 fatalities
  8. December 6, 1917: Halifax Explosion, Canada – around 2,000 fatalities
  9. December 3, 1984: The Bhopal Disaster, India – 4,000 to 20,000 fatalities
  10. August, 1975: The Banqiao Dam Disaster, China – 100,000 fatalities


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