We’re all used to hearing complaints about excessive health and safety rules but historically, this hasn’t always been the case. Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, humans have been pushing the boundaries of engineering and science to create impressive constructions. However, without health and safety, these experiments often came with a cost.
Insulation Express have uncovered the five deadliest construction sites in human history.
- The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal was constructed with the aim of making maritime trade easier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. However, due to a lack of supervision, shocking working conditions, and the area being struck with malaria-carrying mosquitos, a death toll of 22,000 workers was established. Eventually, the project was taken over by a different contractor, however, due to a depleted workforce, damaged equipment, and a mammoth task, a further 5,600 workers died during the final stages of completion.
- White Sea-Baltic Canal
This ship canal construction was projected to move trade and construction deals more efficiently, whilst showing the strength of the Soviet Union. However, this respect came at a cost, with the convicted workers being forced to live in cramped, uncomfortable surroundings. Combining this with increased working hours, poor health and safety, and the constant intensity of labor, unfortunately, there were 6,000 to 120,000 deaths.
- The Burma-Siam Railway
Known as the Death Railway, the railway was constructed to support forces in Burma during World War Two. But with too difficult of a terrain to undertake, maltreatment, starvation and deprived living conditions, 112,000 workers passed away during the construction.
- The Karakoram Highway
This 1300km national highway in Pakistan proved too difficult of a task for workers in 1959. The mountainous terrain of the road led to many difficulties during construction, including multiple deadly landslides which killed 892 workers in total.
- The Aswan Dam
During an industrialization period, The Aswan Dam was constructed with the aim of controlling flooding, increasing water storage of irrigations and generating hydroelectricity. However, due to a lack of health and safety, as well as damaged equipment, 500 workers were killed. The construction also led to a displacement of 100-120,000 local people.
Learn more about the deadliest construction sites.