This year marks the bicentennial of the great beer flood of 1814, a process safety breakdown if ever there was one. the London neighborhood of St. Giles was surprised to find 3,555 barrels of beer bursting from a vat at Henry Meux’s HorseShoe Brewery.
Historians believe eight died in a nearby tenement as the suds cascaded through the narrow streets. There is a very interesting recap of the incident and the safety lessons that it offers done by RTS, Reynolds Training Services, a UK-based industrial training company. One of the most noteworthy things to me was that a company employee said that casks broke on a regular basis and, since there had never been a serious outcome, it wasn’t a cause for concern. Read their posting here.
When WC Fields was told alcohol would kill him, he uttered the famous words, “Death, where is thy sting.” Hmmmmm.