Monday, May 6, 2013

Worst Factory Disaster Ever

The Rana Plaza collapse in Savan, Bangladesh, on April 24 now counts as possibly the worst accident ever at a factory building, if you measure according to the loss of life in the building itself. The last time I checked, the death toll was 627 and there was still more rubble to dig through. It is clear now that safety rules were ignored on multiple occasions leading up to the disaster, but that doesn’t begin to explain it. In any city you can find someone trying to get around safety rules. It causes problems but usually not disasters. It was perhaps the narrow approach to decision-making in the building that made a bad situation worse. The small group of men who made the decision to continue to operate in an obviously damaged building apparently felt free to ignore not only rules but also reality. How that kind of thinking can happen is the question we ought to be looking for an answer to.