On February 3rd 2023, a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. 38 cars derailed, 11 of which contained hazardous materials, and 5 of those contained vinyl chloride – a chemical used to make polyvinyl chloride. The community, including both animals and humans, have been suffering from the side effects of the chemical, as has the local environment.
This devastating story has much to teach, far beyond the rail industry. It is an opportunity to consider how data-driven decision making works in practice, for better or for worse.
In this episode of Dial P, host Kelly Barner covers:
- The question of ownership and responsibility
- What worked as designed – and yet still led to failure
- What changes may be made as a result, and whether they would have prevented the disaster in East Palestine