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spacerIDEESE: Cases - Bhopal Plant Disaster

The IDEESE Bhopal Plant Disaster Case Study includes a situation summary and eight appendices. THERE ARE A LOT OF READING MATERIALS. We do not expect instructors and students to read through all our resources. Instead, we expect instructors to assign the most appropriate appendices to their students according to their classroom goals. The remaining materials can be used as optional reading assignments for students who want to explore the subject matter in more depth or from a different angle.

Although the case study may be incorporated into your existing syllabi, IDEESE also offers teaching modules that help to focus the case on various dimensions of international ethics. We have outlined 10 examples of how to use the modules, case, and appendices together.

We especially recommend using this case to teach Workplace Ethics in Transnational Contexts

Instructors can download presentation slides for use in the classroom here. To evaluate if learning objectives were met, we suggest using the evaluations attached to the IDEESE modules.

Finally, we also welcome feedback on our case materials. Please contact the Program Manager at mgoncalves @ pubpol . umass . edu with your comments or suggestions.



adobeCase-Situation Summary [489 KB, pdf]: The situation summary is a 7 page document detailing the industrial accident at the Union Carbide factory in India that immediately killed 2,000 people, injured another 200,000 to 300,000 more, and immediately raised questions about plant safety and corporate responsibility around the world.

adobeCase Contents [201 KB, pdf]: This file outlines the contents for the entire case study. It should serve as a cover page if all materials are printed out and act as a guide for instructors in choosing which appendices to assign.



The Bhopal case includes 8 appendices. Instructors should select and assign appendices appropriate to the module or learning objectives for the class session.

adobeAppendix A: Chronology [356 KB, pdf]: The chronology is a 17 page document outlining the events leading up to and following the plant explosion. Dates outlined range from 1956 to 2007. The chronology is also color-coded to aid in identifying city and state measures relating to Bhopal, relevant Indian business legislation, casualties, and changes in economic conditions.

adobeAppendix B: Stakeholders and Level of Responsibility [461 KB, pdf]: Appendix B is designed to encourage students to consider the perspectives of various stakeholders associated with the Bhopal disaster including the government, the UC Corporation, and the victims. It also includes suggested outside readings and the following materials: 1.) H-O-T Analysis of Industrial Accidents Applied to Bhopal Gas Leak, 2.)  Stakeholder Orientations in Industrial Disasters Table, 3.) Stakeholder Effects and Responses Table, 4.)  Comparison of Features of MIC plants in West Virginia and Bhopal, and 5.) a student exercise: Identifying Responsibilities.

adobeAppendix C: Economic/industrial climate of India [359 KB, pdf]: As the title suggests, Appendix C will provide students an overview of the economic and industrial climate in India at the time of the Bhopal disaster. The appendix includes 1.) IDEESE essay on India’s Approach to Economic Development, 2.) Excerpt from Report of the 9th International Symposium on the Prevention of Occupational Accidents and Diseases in the Chemical Industry, " Chemical Industries in India, summer 1984", 3.) Excerpts from and Comments on Union of India Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1973, 4.) The Government of India, Planning Commission, 4th Five-Year Plan, and 5.) Government of India Tenth Five Year Plan: 2002-07.

adobeAppendix D: Union Carbide Corporation [233 KB, pdf]: Appendix D provides details on the Union Carbide Corporation including how the corporation is organized, what safety issues they were aware of at the Bhopal Plant (1982) and their West Virginia facility (1985).

adobeAppendix E: Issues in Chemical Processing [282 KB, pdf]: Appendix E is designed specifically with scientists in mind. It addresses the toxicity of chemicals at the Bhopal Plant, the types of hazards in manufacturing and using industrial products, the types of hazards in product use and consumption, and outlines notes on making the chemical SEVIN.

adobeAppendix F: Assessing Responsibility: The Legal/Regulatory System [319 KG, pdf]: Appendix F examines the policy changes and litigation resulting from Bhopal disaster. It includes a Note on Indian Supreme Court decisions regarding the Bhopal disaster, Western European and United States policy information about chemical plant hazards, and links to several relevant Supreme Court decisions.

adobeAppendix G: Assessing Responsibility: The Engineers and Scientists [220 KB, pdf]: Appendix G uses excerpts from legal proceedings to create "Contrasting Views of Responsibility for the Bhopal Disaster" and to assess the levels of responsibility for engineers and scientists involved in the UCC and Bhopal Plant.

adobeAppendix H: Assessing Responsibility: Technical Expertise and Managers [226 KB, pdf]: Appendix H uses IEEE and ASME Codes of Ethics to assess what levels of responsibility professional societies consider managers to have. The essay "Engineers and Managers" by MJ Peterson explains what options managers have when faced with an ethical dilemma.


The complete Bhopal case and 8 appendices are available as one file here:

adobeComplete Bhopal Case and Appendices [1,348 KB, pdf]



Instructors: Use these sample presentation slides during your class:

slidesOpen OfficePresentation Slides [46KB, PowerPoint] [Impress]: These slides are designed for instructor use in the classroom. They provide a general overview of the Bhopal case and encourage students to discuss those international dimensions of ethics identified through their readings. The slides ONLY address the case study and should be modified to incorporate the IDEESE module with which you pair the case..



Creative Commons License
All IDEESE Bhopal Case Study Materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.



Funding for the International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Project comes from the National Science Foundation through grant number 0734887. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

For additional STS Research Clusters, visit our Research Page.


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