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Bhopal: When Safety Standards Differ

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Case 6.7 Bhopal: When Safety Standards Differ

1) Briefly summarize what you believe to be the key facts in the case.

Just to begin we can say that The Bhopal accident is considered the worst industrial disaster in the history of mankind. So is an important and delicate case that we have to analyze, because of the human loses, (7,000 in total, to this today, according with the Amnesty International).

There are three key facts in this case that occurred, and most of them are violations of safety measures. (Corporate negligence)

Employment regulation, as a first step led to a progressive reduction of jobs. More than half of employees are laid off (most were higher technicians and skilled workers). As consequence, the functions were assigned to unskilled workers with little or no knowledge of chemistry and security.

Second, reducing maintenance costs of facilities and cut budget for the purchase of material needed. This reduces the quality of the job, considering the maximum of security that the complex needed (for working with chemicals with a high risk of explosion).

And third, since the Bhopal plant was planning to shut down, before the accident, the Bhopal plant would only be operational in so far as so required by market demand. With plant shutdowns also they stopped security systems: the cooling system of the tanks of MIC is turned off, the tower decontamination is deactivated, and the flame went crazy to incinerate the whole area.

 In another words, lack of specialized technical personnel, Corrosion of materials and equipment, and Turning off and disabling of security measures.

2.) Describe your understanding of the company’s long-term ethical-legal problems.

This accident caused many human fatal losses, which involves a giant size of ethical-legal long-term problems such as compensation for families of those killed, compensation for survivors, many injured and others with disease for the rest of their lives, compensation of salaries because people became unemployed, recovery of the city of Bhopal, (both the environment and infrastructure). In short, an act of the company, without responsibility, without prudence, unfair, trustless, not ethical from the point of view of how responded poorly (this company), to the relief of the accident, and humanitarian aid to the people affected.

As if this is little, Union Carbide Corporation American, sold the company to Dow Chemical, for millions of dollars and victims without receiving fair compensation. Above all, Mr. Anderson principal responsible of the company, escaped from justice of India and without paying any legal penalty for what happened. (dishonest unfair behave)

3) Whose interests are being served in the case? What ethical views are represented?

There are fatally interests, that served to the corporation in this case, the causes of the disaster were a corporate negligence, and that was for benefited of the Corporation, in terms of covering their interests of saving money, by cutting costs in all areas of the corporation, allowing a dangerous work environment to develop only more risks for their own workers. So, the management (and local government) did wrong actions, when they cut investment in safety and security.

The Key factors cited above, are showing the low levels of ethics of the corporation and the government (India), such lack of maintenance of the plant, ceased production (which allows multiple security systems must operate), disabling the cooling system MIC tank that could have mitigated the severity of disasters, all of these due to money- saving, The Ethical Egoism Theory (fits here), Morally clueless definitely was the philosophy of the Corporation.

The Corporation's culture does not foster ethical behavior, which is no committed to honesty, integrity and transparency. Unfortunately, the corporation's ethics were missing. They were behaving with no compassion thinking in their Utilitarianism philosophical model of work and the less, they were caring is about the workers and the community.



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