Man-made hazard

Man-made hazard

A man-made hazard is a threat having an element of human intent, negligence, error or involving a failure of a system. Man-made disasters are the result of man-made hazards for which adequate emergency management measures have not been adopted.

ociological Hazards



Arson is the criminal intent of setting a fire with intent to cause damage. The definition of arson was originally limited to setting fire to buildings, but was later expanded to include other objects, such as bridges, vehicles, and private property. Arson is the greatest cause of fires in data repositories. Sometimes, human-induced fires can be accidental: failing machinery such as a kitchen stove is a major cause of accidental fires. []

Civil Disorder

Civil disorder is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe forms of disturbance. Although civil disorder does not necessarily escalate to a disaster in all cases, the event may escalate into general chaos. Rioting has many causes, from low minimum wage to racial segregation. And example of riots were those in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in 1965 and 1992. The 1992 riots, which started at the intersections of Florence and Normandie streets, started immediately after the Rodney King verdict was announced on live TV. Approximately 50 people died in the 1992 riots.


Terrorism is a controversial term with multiple definitions. One definition means a violent action targeting civilians exclusively. Another definition is the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological goal. Under the second definition, the targets of terrorist acts can be anyone, including civilians, government officials, military personnel, or people serving the interests of governments. In the early 21st century, terrorism has been considered by some a constant threat to all people of the world, after the worst disaster of its kind struck on September 11, 2001 (known primarily as 9/11).


War is conflict between relatively large groups of people, which involves physical force inflicted by the use of weapons. Warfare has destroyed entire cultures, countries, economies and inflicted great suffering on humanity. Other terms for war can include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action. Acts of war are normally excluded from insurance contracts and disaster planning.

Technological Hazards

Industrial Hazards

Industrial disasters occur in a commercial context, such as mining disasters. They often have an environmental impact.

tructural Collapse

Structural collapses are often caused by engineering failures. Bridge failures may be caused in several ways, such as under-design (as in the Tay Rail Bridge), by corrosion attack (such as in the Silver Bridge), and by aerodynamic flutter of the deck (as in Galloping Gertie, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge). Failure of dams was not infrequent during the Victorian period, such as the Dale Dyke dam failure in Sheffield, England in the 1860s, causing the Great Sheffield Flood. Other failures include balcony collapses.

Power Outage

A power outage is an interruption of normal sources of electrical power. Short-term power outages (up to a few hours) are common and have minor adverse effect, since most businesses and health facilities are prepared to deal with them. Extended power outages, however, can disrupt personal and business activities as well as medical and rescue services, leading to business losses and medical emergencies. Extended loss of power can lead to civil disorder, as in the New York City blackout of 1977. Only very rarely do power outages escalate to disaster proportions, however, they often accompany other types of disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, which hampers relief efforts.


Bush fires, forest fires and mine fires are generally started by lightning, but also by human negligence or arson. They can burn thousands of square kilometers. If a fire intensifies enough to produce its own winds and "weather", it will form into a firestorm. A good example of a mine fire is the one near Centralia, Pennsylvania. Started in 1962, it ruined the town and continues to burn today. Some of the biggest city-related fires are The Great Chicago Fire, The Peshtigo Fire (both of 1871) and The Great Fire of London in 1666.

Casualties resulting from fires, regardless of their source or initial cause, can be aggravated by inadequate emergency preparedness. Such hazards as a lack of accessible emergency exits, poorly marked escape routes, or improperly maintained fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems may result in many more deaths and injuries than might occur with such protections. See e.g. .

Hazardous Materials

Radiation Contamination

When nuclear weapons are detonated or nuclear containment systems are otherwise compromised, airborne radioactive particles (nuclear fallout) can scatter and irradiate large areas. Not only is it deadly, but it also has a long-term effect on the next generation for those who are contaminated. Ionizing radiation is hazardous to living things, and in such a case much of the affected area could be unsafe for human habitation. During World War II, United States troops dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, the radiation fallout contaminated the cities' water supplies, food sources, and half of the populations of each city were stricken with disease. The Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belarus are part of a scenario like this after a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a meltdown in 1986. To this day, several small towns and the city of Chernobyl remain abandoned and uninhabitable due to fallout. In the 1970s, a similar threat scared millions of Americans when a failure occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania. The incident was fortunately resolved, and the area retained little contamination.


A catch-all initialism meaning Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. The term is used to describe a non-conventional terror threat that, if used by a nation, would be considered use of a weapon of mass destruction. This term is used primarily in the United Kingdom. Planning for the possibility of a CBRN event may be appropriate for certain high-risk or high-value facilities and governments. Examples include the Halabja poison gas attack on the Kurdish purported by Saddam Hussein, the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo and the preceding test runs in Matsumoto, Japan 100 kilometers outside of Tokyo, [] , and Lord Amherst giving smallpox laden blankets to Native Americans. [] .



An aviation incident is an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations, passengers, or pilots. The category of the vehicle can range from a helicopter, an airliner, or a space shuttle. One of the more devastating events occurred in 1977 on the island of Tenerife of the Canary Islands, when miscommunications between and amongst air traffic control and an aircrew caused two fully loaded jets to collide on the runway, killing over 500 passengers.


A railroad disaster is an occurrence associated with the operation of a passenger train which results in substantial loss of life. Usually accidents with freight (goods) trains are not considered disasters, unless they cause substantial loss of life or property. One of the more devastating rail disasters occurred in 2004 in Sri Lanka when 1,700 people died in the Queen of the Sea train accident. Other notable rail disasters are the 1989 Ufa accident in Russia which killed 574, and the 1917 Modane train accident in France which killed 540.

See also the list of train accidents by death toll.

pace Disasters

Space disasters, either during operations or training, have killed around 20 astronauts and cosmonauts, and a much larger number of ground crew and civilians. These disasters include either malfunctions on the ground, during launch, or in orbit with technology, or of natural forces. Not all space disasters result in human fatalities, for example, unmanned orbiting satellites that drop to the Earth can incinerate and send debris spewing across the sky. One of the worst manned space disasters, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion of 1986, cost all of the lives on board. The shuttle exploded several seconds after taking off from the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Another example is the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated during a landing attempt over Texas in 2003, with a loss of all 7 astronauts on board. The debris field extended from as far as eastern New Mexico to Mississippi. An example of a space disaster killing nearby residents occurred on February 15, 1996, in Sichuan Province, China, when a Long March 3B rocket crashed during takeoff. The Nedelin catastrophe in 1960 also killed 126 when an R-16 ICBM exploded on the launch pad.

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