Technological Hazards, Disasters and Accidents

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Although some technological risks can be traced back to the ancient times, it was between the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century that technical advancement and the process of industrialization posed the question of the management of the technologies and of their possible disastrous consequences. During these years there was an important change in approaching these issues: from the inevitability of disasters to the adoption of policies of prevention and risk management. This important change had as a consequence an increasing role of public institutions (national governments, agencies and authorities) in the control, prevention and emergency management of technological disasters. According to this new approach, scientists, the experts and the technicians that were required to “predict” using their special knowledge technological disasters, became central figures. The first post-war period represents an important turning point because this new and modern attitude towards technological hazards reached its full maturity. The spreading of new technologies also facilitated by the process of industrialization and the emergence of the era of mass consumptions, influenced a new discipline that, from different approaches, tried to address and resolve the various aspects of technological threats. Born in the postwar period, the disastrology and in general policies to ensure safety, found a systematic application after the Second World War. The increasing complexity of certain technologies used in industry, in the production of energy, in the transport sector and especially the potentially catastrophic consequences of technological accidents, imposed an additional effort in the field of regulation, prevention and management of emergencies. In some cases, such as the atomic energy for civilian use, an increasing role was played by national and international agencies that were created during this period. Since the 1970s but especially in the following decade, several major accidents (Three Mile Island, Seveso, Bhopal, Chernobyl, Fukushima, the environmental disasters caused by oil tankers) put forward the need for a standardization of rules and a greater international co-operation. The globalization of technological hazards at the time of the so-called “risk society” has fostered a more interdisciplinary approach to the issues of technological disasters. Moreover, the increased number of new hazardous substances and materials and the opportunities for human error inherent their use has determined an escalation of technological accidents. All this factors and the more and more unstable boundaries between natural disasters and man-made disasters has necessarily imposed growing efforts for harmonization policies at a national and an international level to ensure collective security, public health and environmental protection.

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... Catastrophes triggered riots against political or colonial powers, but also led to attacks on marginal groups who had been scapegoated, resulting in religious discrimination, xenophobia or environmental injustice. These events would remain in the collective memory of resilient populations for many years, some events becoming landmarks in environmental activism (Silei, 2014;Bertomeu Sánchez & Guillem Llobat, 2017b). ...
... Nowadays the contemporary society is profoundly affected by increased instability, determined by various incidents that occur as a consequence of the technical development, either incidents intentionally caused by the human being or incidents that occur as a consequence of changes in climate and nature. Various situations are to be found in the contemporary society of these examples can be considered "man-made hazards" referring to artificial phenomena caused by human action, inaction, negligence or error (also defined as "technological hazards" when are determined by technology -industrial, engineering, etc. -, and as "sociological hazards" when they have a direct human motivation (crime, war, conflict, etc.) (Silei, 2010). ...
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REZUMAT Banda desenată ca formă de artă a fost întotdeauna intrinsec legată de societate şi politică fiind un mediu prin care artiştii s-au implicat în confruntările sociale ale epocii lor. Apariţia tiparului a contribuit la formarea libertăţii de exprimare prin multiplicarea şi difuzarea în masă a imaginilor narative cu conţinut subversiv. Mesajele critice susţinute de formulări vizuale puternice au devenit accesibile şi populare. Ilustraţiile realizate în sprijinul Reformei din Evul Mediu, primele scene narative din jurnalele franceze ale secolului al XIX-lea şi cele din publicaţiile satirice din Rusia începutului de secol XX dovedesc că artiştii au înteles forţa pe care o reprezintă punându-şi talentul în slujba marilor mişcări de schimbare socială. În prezentul articol dorim să punctăm momentele esenţiale de formare a discursului critic în imagini narative ca fundaţie a construcţiei benzilor desenate contemporane cu implicare socială. Ne vom concentra atenţia asupra evoluţiei noilor media în Era digitală cu directă referire la webcomics şi aspectul interactiv de propagare a mesajelor cu conţinut social. În acest context vom analiza mutaţiile pe care benzile desenate le cunosc prin prisma mişcărilor sociale ce marchează secolul XXI şi care determină diversificarea stilurilor, genurilor, dar şi a temelor importante ale societăţii actuale, devenind o veritabilă armă politică. CUVINTE CHEIE: bandă desenată, webcomics, interactivity, new media, activism, critică social-politică, imagini narative, jurnal, publicaţii satirice, armă politică, mesaj critic. ABSTRACT Comic strip as an art form has always been intrinsically linked to society and politics as a medium through which artists were involved in the social confrontations of their age. The invention of printing has contributed to the freedom of expression by the multiplication and mass dissemination of narrative images with subversive content. Critical messages supported by strong visual statements have become available and popular. The illustrations supporting the Reform in the Middle Ages, the first narrative scenes of the French journals of the nineteenth century and the satirical publications of the early twentieth century Russia * Alice Iliescu este lect. univ. dr. în cadrul Departamentului de Grafică al Universității de Artă și Design din Cluj-Napoca. Alice Iliescu, PhD, is a senior lecturer within the Graphic Arts Department of the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca. Contact: 18 IRREGULAR, VOL. 1, ISSUE 1, 2016 Cercetarea despre, prin și pentru artă / Research about, through and for Art prove that artists have understood the force they represent by putting their talent at the service of great movements for social change. In this article we wish to point out key moments for developing a critical discourse in narrative images as the foundation for building socially involved contemporary comics. We shall focus on the evolution of new media in the Digital Age with direct reference to webcomics and their interactive aspect of spreading social messages. In this context we shall analyze the mutations experienced by comics in the light of the social movements that have marked the twenty-first century thus entailing a diversification in styles, genres, and becoming a real political weapon as well.
... The consequences of mutation result in the transmission of modified genetic information from generation to generation, wreaking havoc on human health via neurological diseases, birth abnormalities, infertility, and numerous kinds of cancer in various organs [53,54]. The terrible nuclear catastrophes at Hiroshima, Fukushima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl, have shown the terrible effects and long-term repercussions of intentional radionuclide emission into the environment [55,56]. These nuclear catastrophes provide the greatest illustration of the consequences of radiation that have been seen so far since thousands of infants were born with physical deformities and mental retardation due to radiation exposure. ...
The development of advanced magnetic functional adsorbents for enhanced environmental cleanup technologies has gained extensive attention over the last two decades. Recently, magnetic materials have significantly impacted environmental remediation due to their unique properties, facile modification, selective adsorption ability, superparamagnetism, and ease of regeneration. These magnetic nanomaterials exhibit exceptional activity to detect and remove target pollutants and metabolites. When used in conjunction with some advanced techniques (high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and other analytical methods), the detection and identification of trace contaminants can be carried out in a one-step process. The development of polymer-based magnetic nanocomposite materials has emerged as the most promising candidates for removing radionuclides from aqueous solutions due to their extraordinary physicochemical, electronic, and exfoliation features. Here, we review polymer-supported magnetic nanocomposite materials (PMNCs) to remove radionuclides from the aqueous solutions. This critical review first provides a brief overview of the sustainable development goals, characteristic features of PMNCs, impact, and different techniques employed for the removal and detection of radionuclides. Following this overview, different engineering strategies for the functionalization of MNPs with other nanomaterials and their application for trace analysis of radionuclides from aqueous solutions have been discussed. Finally, we feature the development strategies and future challenges of PMNCs as efficient adsorbents. By analyzing the structure morphology, theoretical calculations, magnetic properties, and surface area, we discussed the fundamental relationships among composition, structure, and adsorption efficiency for various PMNC adsorbents to provide better insights into these emerging magnetic hybrid materials at the microscopic level.
... Reflecting on technological hazard literatureTechnological hazards are well documented historically (seeBrooks 1973;Kate & Kasperson 1983;Cutter 1993;Ayyub 2003) and in the main the literature focuses on technological disasters in urban areas linked to industrial development and factories. The historical technological hazard literature describes technological disasters as unavoidable aspects of most advanced societies in the second half of the 19th century (seeSilei n.d;Cutter 1993;Showalter & Myers 1994;Krejsa 1997;Smith 2004). As a result, disaster risk reduction measures, enacted through policy intervention and legislation, were introduced in many countries and contexts(see UK 1974). ...
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The study aimed to investigate the extent to which land-use planning in Stellenbosch, South Africa considers the fire-risk posed by petrol stations, and the implications for public safety, as well as preparedness for large fires or explosions. To achieve this, the study first identified the land-use types around petrol stations in Stellenbosch and determined the extent to which their locations comply with the international and national planning regulations. Petrol stations within a six-kilometer radius from Stellenbosch’s centre were used as study sites. Second, the study examined the risk of fires/explosions at petrol stations. Third, the study investigated Stellenbosch Municipality’s institutional preparedness to respond in an event of a fire/explosion at a petrol station. These results suggest that the siting of petrol stations does not comply with the international and national good practices, thus exposing the surrounding developments to fires and explosions. The results also suggest that land-use planning does not consider hazards created by petrol stations. In addition, while observation at petrol stations suggests the potential for major fires, Stellenbosch Municipality’s preparedness to respond to petrol station fires appears low, due to the prioritisation of more frequent events.
... Moreover, many of the worst technological disasters in recorded history, including oil spills in marine environments, have occurred since the 1970"s [Aguilera et al., 2010;Kresja, 1997;Lurie et al., 2013;Silei, 2014]. ...
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Few conceptual frameworks attempt to connect disaster-associated environmental injuries to impacts on ecosystem services (the benefits humans derive from nature) and thence to both psychological and physiological human health effects. To our knowledge, this study is one of the first, if not the first, to develop a detailed conceptual model of how degraded ecosystem services affect cumulative stress impacts on the health of individual humans and communities. Our comprehensive Disaster-Pressure State-Ecosystem Services-Response-Health (DPSERH) model demonstrates that oil spills, hurricanes, and other disasters can change key ecosystem components resulting in reductions in individual and multiple ecosystem services that support people's livelihoods, health, and way of life. Further, the model elucidates how damage to ecosystem services produces acute, chronic, and cumulative stress in humans which increases risk of adverse psychological and physiological health outcomes. While developed and initially applied within the context of the Gulf of Mexico, it should work equally well in other geographies and for many disasters that cause impairment of ecosystem services. Use of this new tool will improve planning for responses to future disasters and help society more fully account for the costs and benefits of potential management responses. The model also can be used to help direct investments in improving response capabilities of the public health community, biomedical researchers, and environmental scientists. Finally, the model illustrates why the broad range of potential human health effects of disasters should receive equal attention to that accorded environmental damages in assessing restoration and recovery costs and time frames.
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Disasters are a recurring fact of life, and major incidents can have both immediate and long-lasting negative effects on the health and well-being of people, communities, and economies. A primary goal of many disaster preparedness, response, and recovery plans is to reduce the likelihood and severity of disaster impacts through increased resilience of individuals and communities. Unfortunately, most plans do not address directly major drivers of long-term disaster impacts on humans-that is, acute, chronic, and cumulative stress-and therefore do less to enhance resilience than they could. Stress has been shown to lead to or exacerbate ailments ranging from mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorders, and suicide to cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, and other infirmities. Individuals, groups, communities, organizations, and social ties are all vulnerable to stress. Based on a targeted review of what we considered to be key literature about disasters, resilience, and disaster-associated stress effects, we recommend eight actions to improve resiliency through inclusion of stress alleviation in disaster planning: (1) Improve existing disaster behavioral and physical health programs to better address, leverage, and coordinate resources for stress reduction, relief, and treatment in disaster planning and response. (2) Emphasize pre- and post-disaster collection of relevant biomarker and other health-related data to provide a baseline of health status against which disaster impacts could be assessed, and continued monitoring of these indicators to evaluate recovery. (3) Enhance capacity of science and public health early-responders. (4) Use natural infrastructure to minimize disaster damage. (5) Expand the geography of disaster response and relief to better incorporate the displacement of affected people. (6) Utilize nature-based treatment to alleviate pre- and post-disaster stress effects on health. (7) Review disaster laws, policies, and regulations to identify opportunities to strengthen public health preparedness and responses including for stress-related impacts, better engage affected communities, and enhance provision of health services. (8) With community participation, develop and institute equitable processes pre-disaster for dealing with damage assessments, litigation, payments, and housing.
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This article contains a description of the history of asbestos, its use throughout history, asbestos as substance, which problems it causes, when they were discovered and what has been done to reduce these problems. There are references to cases of asbestos in industrialized countries, and how the «double standard» induce companies to adopt different environmental and health criteria depending on the country in which they operate, leaving a toxic legacy to the future generations. Is made an approach to the asbestos history and legislation in Portugal. Several kinds of written sources were used, such scientific papers, official journal of the Republic Assembly, legislation and press releases.
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In an influential 1977 article in Mother Jones magazine, journalist Mak Dowie accused Ford Motor Company executives of callously deciding to produce and continuing to market the Pinto (which he labeled a "firetrap") even after company crash tests showed that its gas tank would mptue in rea- end collisions at relatively low speeds (Dowie, 1977). This reprehensible decision, according to Dowie's interpretation, derived from a cost/benefit analysis which purportedly demonstrated that settling the few inevitable lawsuits filed by burn victims or thek families would cost less than the eleven dollars per car needed to fix the defective tanks (Green, 1997, p. 130). Dowie, along with well-known consumer advocate Ralph Nader, held a press confer- ence in Washington, D.C. on August 10, 1977, to draw national attention to the case. One day later, the National Highway Transportation Safety Admin- istration (NHTSA) began its own investigation of the Pinto gas tank (Cullen, Maakestad, and Carender, 1987). Lee Strickland was the NHTSA engineer assigned the task of determimng if the Pinto gas tank met the criteria of a recallable safety defect (Stricldand, 1996). The NHTSA investigation did not occur in a social vacuum. Strickland and his staff were chaged with evaluating the Pinto in the midst of national publicity that had already labeled its gas tank "defective" and accused the federal government (and NHTSA) of buckling to pressure from lobbyists for the auto industry (Dowie, 1977). Consumers also wrote letters to NHTSA demanding that it take action against Ford after Dowie's article was published (NHTSA, 1978). However, according to Strickland, NHTSA's evaluation revealed that the Pinto had a "fire threshold" (i.e. the speed at which a collision is likely to result in a fire) in rea-end collisions of between 30 and 35 miles per hour. Since the federal standard on fuel tank integrity (FMVSS 301, effective startg with 1977 model year cars) required that cars withstand only a 30 mile- per-hour rear impact, NHTSA would have to take extra-ordinary steps in order to force a recall of the Pinto (U.S. Department of Transportation, 1988).
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Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them. The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.
This work examines the legal issues surrounding the possibility of accidents at nuclear installations in Europe. Contents include: Regulations and control by international organizations in the context of a nuclear accident; The role of Euratom; Border installations: the interaction of administrative, European community and public international law; and Border installations: the experience of Wackersdorf. Concepts of nuclear liability and the liability of suppliers to nuclear power plants are discussed.
A separate abstract was prepared for each of the 19 chapters, divided according to the following Parts: (1) Public Perceptions of Nuclear Energy; (2) Local Responses to Nuclear Plants; (3) Institutional Responsibilities for Nuclear Energy; (4) The Interaction of Social and Technical Systems; and (5) Implications for Public Policy. All of the abstracts will appear in Energy Abstracts for Policy Analysis (EAPA); three will appear in Energy Research Abstracts (ERA). At the request of the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island (the Kemeny Commission), the Social Science Research Council commissioned social scientists to write a series of papers on the human dimensions of the event. This volume includes those papers, in revised and expanded form, and a comprehensive bibliography of published and unpublished social science research on the accident and its aftermath.
This book presents a comparative perspective of technological risks confronting contemporary society. The authors provide a framework for thinking about hazards and hazard management, for measuring the consequences of technological risk for society, and for assessing the appropriateness of various hazard management techniques.
Sumario: Air & space disasters (Hinderburg crash. TWA super-constellation and united airlines DC-7 collision. Apollo 1 capsule fire. Soyuz 11 reentry disaster. Challenger explosion. United Airlines Boeing 747 explosion. United Airlines DC-10 crash. Lauda Air Boeing 767-300 crash. El Al Boeing 747-200 crash) -- Disasters at sea (Sinking of the Titanic. Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision. Thresher sinking. Scorpion sinking. Ocean Ranger oil-drilling rig sinking. Exxon Valdez oil spill) -- Automobile failures (Ford Pinto rear-impacr defect. Firestone 500 steel-belted tire failure. Audi 5000 sudden acceleration) -- Chemical & nuclear disasters (Windscale reactor complex fire. Three Mile Island accident. Tsuruga radioactive waste spill. Ginna power plant radioactive release. Bhopal toxic vapor leak. Institute, West Virginia, toxic vapor leak. Chernobyl accident) -- Bridge, building & other structural collapses (Molassess spill. Tacoma narrows bridge collapse. Ronan point tower collapse. MGM Grand Hotel fire. Hyatt Regency hotel walkways collapse. East Chicago, Indiana, highway ramp collapse. Mianus river bridge collapse. Stava Dam failure. Schoharie Creek bridge collapse. L'Ambiance plaza collapse)
The fourth edition of Environmental Hazards continues to blend physical and social sciences to provide a thoroughly balanced, contemporary introduction to hazards analysis and mitigation strategies. It covers all the major rapid-onset events, whether natural, human or technological in origin which directly threaten humans and what they value. Environmental Hazards provides a lucid comprehensive introduction to both the theory and practice of hazards and their mitigation, drawing on interdisciplinary insights. It is essential reading for students of geography, environmental science, earth science and geology.
When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. In The Challenger Launch Decision, Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skulduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Journalists and investigators have historically cited production problems and managerial wrong-doing as the reasons behind the disaster. The Presidential Commission uncovered a flawed decision-making process at the space agency as well, citing a well-documented history of problems with the O-ring and a dramatic last-minute protest by engineers over the Solid Rocket Boosters as evidence of managerial neglect. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them. No safety rules were broken. No single individual was at fault. Instead, the cause of the disaster is a story not of evil but of the banality of organizational life. This powerful work explains why the Challenger tragedy must be reexamined and offers an unexpected warning about the hidden hazards of living in this technological age.
Vita. Published also as Studies in history, economics and public law, ed. by the Faculty of political science of Columbia university, vol. XCIV, no. 1, whole number 212. Thesis (PH. D.)--Columbia University, 1920. Microfilm. Microfilm (negative),
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