What do we learn from disasters

On October 6th, Vijay Rangachari, Managing Director of Maersk Training in Dubai made a speech at the Emergency Management & Business Contingency Conference about the importance of creating better awareness on how to deal with Hazardous materials.

What turns a tragedy into a disaster is, more often than not, the lack of an ability to learn from a hidden mistake, an oversight, or the initial response. The only connecting factor in the whole process is people, according to Vijay Rangachari, Managing Director of Maersk Training in Dubai.

Just over a year ago in the container port of Tianjin in China, nearly two hundred people were killed, eight hundred injured and thousands affected by a dangerous situation being misinterpreted; there followed a series of explosions that lasted three days before the situation was brought under control.

‘There was a fire and the immediate, almost natural, act was to put water on it,’ Vijay told the IAEM Emergency Management and Business Contingency conference. ‘Experts who have tried to piece together what happened suspect that the blast was caused by calcium carbide stored in the container which reacted explosively to water when the fire services rushed to put out the fire.’

As with most disasters not caused by natural elements, there were many process and procedures that could have prevented it – the only common factor was human awareness. ‘It is people who join the dots and should take the time to consider the consequences of any single action,’ Vijay told the conference in Dubai which was organised by IQPC.

He pointed out that a shipping company which had introduced a new software detection system identified an extra 4,000 cases of incorrect product reporting – a 60% increase. He asked, ‘how often do hazardous materials get labelled simply as “farm products” or even “cosmetics”?’

The solution is in better awareness and the centre in Dubai is taking up the challenge with a series of open seminars on dealing with hazardous materials and cargo across maritime, logistics, terminals and in the oil and gas industry.

For those interested please contact our training center in Dubai

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