3 Early Crisis Management Learnings from This Mornings Tata Steel Incident

THE UNTHINKABLE NEVER HAPPENS, UNTIL IT DOES…

TataSteelExplosion_Twitter Images

At around 3.35 am on Friday 26 Apr 19, a series of explosions rocked the Tata steel works at Port Talbot in Wales.

Early reports indicate that, thankfully, only two people suffered minor injuries, none were killed, and the resulting fires were quickly extinguished.  

TataSteelExplosions_Train_Damage_BBCImage

It appears that the seat of the explosion was the train which carries molten metal into the works and that the trigger was the liquid metal coming into contact with cold water.  (Source: BBC )

Either way Safety at the plant has improved significantly since 2001 when 3 workers were killed in a blast.

SO WHAT?

 

  1. Firstly, thank the heavens that injuries were not serious and that there were no deaths.  Under different circumstances, this could have been another Aberfan, where, like now, the whole community revolves around the plant



  2. Secondly, there are business continuity fallouts from an incident like this.  The impact on production will be managed internally and an enquiry will identify what processes were missing or deficient to allow molten metal to come into contact with cold water.


    Should the results of the enquiry then be published across the entire industry (or similar industries) worldwide?  The aviation sector is excellent at this, and always publishes the analysis of both incidents and near misses quickly and widely, so that all airlines can learn the lessons and reduce the risk repeating the situations which led to the incidents in the first place.



  3. Thirdly, an incident like this should re-inforce to all businesses that the “Black Swan” unthinkable events can and do happen, and by definition they will not have been factored into business continuity processes (otherwise they would not be Black Swans).  In such cases, it is the preparedness and mindset of people which governs how well or badly the incident is handled, and both of those are the result of good business continuity training.