Worst industrial disaster


Bhopal catastrophe was the worst industrial catastrophe in the universe. On 3rd December, about 40 dozenss of risky methyl isocyanate ( MIC ) was by chance leaked into the densely population in Bhopal, India. Thousands of people were killed instantly in this accident and many of the subsisters still enduring from respiratory unwellness and lasting hurts. Lack of site care was the primary contributing factors to the calamity. However, Union Carbide Corporation tried to shrug off the duty for this accident and claimed that the catastrophe was created by a dissatisfied worker. About $ 470 million dollar had paid to the India authorities and the victims of the calamity. The belowground H2O around the works was polluted because the company had refused to take the killing procedure to take the staying chemical ballad in the site after the accident. The major causes and effects of the Bhopal catastrophe were the reminder to other industrial directions for forestalling the similar accident and besides to foreground the safety and wellness in industrial operation.

1. Introduction

The demand of the pesticides was highly high in between 1956 and 1970 in India because of the consequence of Green Revolution which is a strategy used by India authorities to increase productiveness of the harvests by utilizing high modern input such as high giving seed, machinery, fertilisers, and pesticides ( Matilal & A ; Hopfl, 2009 ) . Therefore, Union Carbide Corporation ( UCC ) decided to construct up pesticides works in Bhopal, India, as a joint venture with India investors

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Bhopal works was owned by UCC, but it was operated by its subordinate Union Carbide India Limited ( UCIL ) . At the clip of Bhopal catastrophe UCC was the 7th largest chemical company in United Stated chiefly in bring forthing heavy chemicals, pesticides, batteries, C merchandises, and plastics. Similarly, UCIL was a diversified company in India and 10,000 people were hired at 13 fabricating units bring forthing batteries and pesticides ( Patwardhan, 2004 ) .

UCC built up pesticide works in Bhopal, India because of its cardinal location. The railroad station and the Upper Lake of Bhopal was close to the works, which provided equal H2O beginning to the works and the railroad system was readily spanned over the major metropolis of India like Bombay and Calcutta ( Matila & A ; Hopfl, 2009 ) . In add-on, inexpensive operating cost, and labour cost were offered in developing state peculiarly in India ( TED instance surveies, 1996 ) . Bhopal works was welcomed because the company offered occupation chance to the local community.

Initially, the primary aim of the UCIL works was to fabricate pesticides for usage in agricultural intent and supply sufficient pesticides to India market ( Browning, 1993 ) . UCC began losing money because the works had jobs of profitableness resulted in decrease cost of care and safety and wellness of the works and besides was the chief contributing factor to the gas calamity.

There were 800,000 occupants in Bhopal at that clip, about 2,000 people died instantly, and 300,000 people were injured. Five twelvemonth subsequently, a series of surveies have showed that, many of the subsisters now live with complaints such as partial or complete sightlessness, GI upsets, impaired immune system, station traumatic emphasis upsets, and catamenial job in adult females ( Sullivan, 1998 ) .

Finally, the study of Browning, a retired frailty president, wellness safety, and environmental plan of UCC ( 1993 ) stated that $ 470 million dollars was paid to India authorities and the victims of the calamity in February 1989 as the concluding colony for the judicial proceeding of this accident.

This subjects will be covered in this survey are the direction construction of the company and its aims. The major causes and consequence of the catastrophe will besides be covered. Further betterments are besides suggested in this survey to forestall the similar accident.

2. Management and Operation

2.1. The Management and its Structure

The UCIL works was owned 50.9 % by Union Carbide and 49.1 % by the Indian investors ( Eckerman, 2005 ) . Bhopal works was one of the divisions of UCIL and this works was a cardinal installation to fabricate the agricultural merchandises. Managerial control over UCIL and other Asiatic affiliates was exercised by Union Carbide Eastern ( UCE ) , a entirely owned subordinate of UCC based in Hong Kong but this subordinate was incorporated in Delware, US. At first, UCIL was reported to UCE and the studies were so handover to UCC central offices in Danbury, US by UCE ( Bhopal Industrial Accident, 2008 ) .

In the early twelvemonth, the works was managed by the employees from USA. Afterward, it was turned over to Indian directors in 1982 due to the force per unit area of the India authorities. There was no direct coverage relationship between the UCC ‘s headquarter and UCIL works. However, the safety audits from UCC would see the UCIL works twice a twelvemonth to execute the safety reviews. The position of UCIL works had rarely reported to the directors in USA. Thus, the Bhopal works was operated independently by the local direction. ( Steiner, 2005 )

2.2. The Objective of the Management

The primary aim of UCC direction was an effort to net income from green revolution and bring forth pesticide to hike the agricultural economic system in India ( Patwardhan, 2004 ) . However, the aim of India authorities was to supply occupation chance to the people of India.

3. Industrial Processes

The indispensable stuff to fabricate Sevin ( carbarly ) was MIC and its procedure is shown in Figure 3.1. Initially, methylcarbamoyl chloride ( CH3NHCOCI ) plus hydrogen chloride ( HCI ) were formed by responding phosgene with methylamine ( CH3NH2 ) . Afterward, methylcarbomoyl was pyrolyzed to organize methyl isocyanate ( CH3NCO ) and HCI. Finally, MIC was reacted with alpha-naphthol to obtain the concluding merchandise which is Sevin ( Lees, 1996 ) .

Basically, the MIC storage system consisted of three storage armored combat vehicles, two for normal usage and one for exigency usage. A 30 dozenss infrigidation system was provided to maintain MIC at 0 & A ; deg ; C to avoid the MIC gases from overheating. Each storage armored combat vehicle was controlled by force per unit area accountant and safety valve, high temperature dismay, and high and low degree dismaies were besides installed. The blowhole gas scrubber ( VGS ) and flair were besides installed to manage the leaked gas. The primary map of VGS was to have the contaminated MIC ( either in vapor or liquid signifier ) and destructing it in the controlled mode ( Lees, 1996 ) . The VGS was besides used to neutralize leaked MIC gases with acerb sodium carbonate. Similarly, the flair was used to manage vented gases from the MIC storage armored combat vehicles via fire neutralisation ( Peterson, 2009 ) .

4. Causes of Accident

4.1. Human Factors

The improper behaviour of direction of UCC resulted cost-cutting in work force ( Chouhan, 2005 ) . The lasting work forces reduced from 859 to 642. The MIC works operators were besides reduced in every displacement from eleven to five and the care staff was besides cut from four to two ( Matilal & A ; Hopfl 2009 ) . For that, the care work in the flair tower which is premier importance in extinguishing unsafe MIC gases could non be completed within 8 hours because of the deficit of staff ( Chouhan, 2005 ) .

Besides that, the operators in the MIC works did non hold sufficient preparation and making to manage the MIC because the continuance of preparation had been shortened from 18 to 2 months ( Chouhan, 2005 ) . Furthermore, the slack execution of safety and care processs had allowed the contaminations entered the MIC armored combat vehicles for 6 hebdomads and therefore the stipulation for the accident was formed ( Shrivastava, 1995 ) .

In add-on, Ingrid Eckerman ( 2001 ) pointed out that major jeopardies was found in the MIC units and the safety audits from the American parent company besides had highlighted that the workers public presentation and safety criterion in Bhopal works were below the American criterions in 1982. However, the UCIL was ready to take action on it, but UCC ne’er sent professional to follow up this.

4.2. Design and Procedure Factors

The location of UCIL works was excessively close to the heavy populated country. This colony was really illegal but the India authorities had denied it ( Lees, 1996 ) . The UCIL works design particularly the safety systems was non constructed harmonizing to the West Virginia works in US. In general, the design and engineering was non sufficient to forestall runaway reaction and taint ( Chouhan, 2005 ) .

Besides that, the jumper line, a connexion between the procedure blowhole heading and the alleviation valve vend heading was installed to the works without the review of the professional lead the H2O entered into MIC storage armored combat vehicle through this jumper line ( Lees, 1996 ) . In add-on, a unsafe fabrication procedure was used to bring forth pesticide by responding MIC and alpha-naphthol ( Matilal & A ; Hopfl, 2009 )

4.3. Root Factors

Despite many newspaper articles sing the foretelling catastrophe of Bhopal works were published, the India authorities still did non move tough on earlier accident because of the common benefit between Indian authorities and UCC. However, UCC had realized that the Bhopal works was unprofitable but the company tried to do it profitable by closing down the major safety systems ( Gupta, 2002 ) .

In add-on, the communicating between the local community and company was hapless. Insufficient information about the possible impacts of the risky chemical that being produced to the community and site operators before the accident ( Willey, Hendershot & A ; Berger, 2006 ) .

4.4. Safety

Harmonizing to T.R. Chouhan, ex-MIC works operator, Bhopal ( 2005 ) , the blowhole gas scrubber was designed to neutralize the toxic gases that come from the MIC armored combat vehicle. Unfortunately, it was non capable in managing the leaked gas.

On the other manus, suppose the flair tower was capable in firing out all of the inordinate C monoxide and MIC bluess at the manageable degree but it was non at the clip of the incident. MIC storage 30 dozenss infrigidation system had been shut down for a twosome of clip to salvage electricity. This system was really used to keep the temperature of MIC below 5 & A ; deg ; C to forestall runaway reaction ( Chouhan, 2005 )

In add-on, the warning dismay which is designed for the community was non functioning and caused the occupants in Bhopal unaware from the leak accident. Last, there was no exigency program for the community of Bhopal and the community was non told about the gas escape after the accident. ( Chouhan, 2005 )

5. Consequences of the Effectss of the Accident

5.1. Health

About 3,928 people were killed in the Bhopal catastrophe ( Eckerman, 2001 ) . The article ( Devraj, 2004 ) reported that the victims who treated in Hamida infirmary after the accident were 99 % suffered from take a breathing job, 86 % had oculus jobs and 91 % faced GI job. Cancer was besides found in some Bhopal victims. Many kids were born after the catastrophe with malformations such as cleft roof of the mouth, three eyes, all finger joined, one excess finger, and different skull forms ( Sharma, 2002 ) . Besides that, adult females ‘s generative wellness was affected. The abortion rate additions dramatically and the self-generated abortion rate was addition from three to four clip ( Eckerman, 2001 ) . Similarly, infertile besides occurs in work forces ‘ reproductive system ( Devraj, 2004 ) .

5.2. Environment and Ecology

Water pollution was besides found. The belowground H2O in Bhopal was polluted by the derelict chemicals in the mill after the catastrophe and it was non safe for imbibing ( Willey, Hendershot & A ; Berger, 2006 ) . Large sum of cowss in the affected country were killed. The works life was badly damaged and widespread defoliation of tree was besides occurred ( Ted Case Studies, 1996 ) .

5.3. Damage Costs/Compensation Costss

The $ 28 million UCIL works was closed in India and caused the 650 workers lost their occupations. All local concern and province authorities offices were closed for three hebdomads and resulted in losing of concern ( Shrivastava, n.d ) . Each dead person was paid $ 800 and $ 100 for each hospitalized member of the household by India authorities. Union Carbide had to counterbalance $ 470 million to the harm caused in this accident ( Varma, 2005 ) .

6. Improvements and Preventions

6.1. Design and Procedure

The local authorities of Bhopal should purely avoid the risky industry set up in the urban country ( Broughton, 2005 ) . Besides that, a alteration by taking the jumper line in shrieking system is required to avoid the H2O near to the MIC storage armored combat vehicles ( Kletz, 1999 ) .

In add-on, the replacing of the risky MIC with less risky stuff in fabricating procedure of pesticide is one of the alternate picks. The good exigency program should be designed to the neighbour community.

6.2. Human Resource

The functions ( Who will be responsible for the safety affair ) of both parties ( UCC & A ; Indian investors ) should be stated clearly before the UCIL works starts working to avoid the dissociate duty after the accident. A choice preparation plan should be provided to heighten the worker accomplishment in managing the risky MIC substances before traveling into operation ( Lees, 1996 ) . Similarly, the company should guarantee that the new recruits are run intoing the criterion.

In add-on, the directors and supervisors should ever pay adequate attending to the safety and care processs and guarantee that the operators are transporting out the care works on a regular basis.

6.3. Safety and Health

India authorities should beef up the safety ordinances in their ain state so that they will non vulnerable to industrial crisis. Besides that, the direction should guarantee that all the safety equipments should be working decently during the operation particularly the MIC storage armored combat vehicles and safety systems such as the infrigidation, scouring, and the flair should be inspected on a regular basis and therefore the stipulation of catastrophe will be cut down significantly ( Kletz, 1999 ) .

On the other manus, all risky stuffs used to bring forth Sevin should be registered with the local exigency governments, and its biochemical reactions in human tissue besides should be examined clearly before let go ofing the licence to the makers. ( Acquilla, 2005 )

Furthermore, the company should supply sufficient public information sing the risky MIC to the community around the works country through the local media such as wireless, and newspapers so that the community will able to take appropriate exigency emptying and proper action in instance the accident happens.

In add-on, research on new engineerings and direction patterns should be carried on on a regular basis to better the safety criterions for pull offing the industrial jeopardies. Last, the information sing the causes and effects of the chemical contains are to be published to raise the safety consciousness of the jeopardy ( Conference Report, 2005 ) .

7. Decision

The lesson of Bhopal catastrophe is a wake-up call of industrial crisis in developing state peculiarly in India. However, upgrading the safety equipments is more preferred instead than disregarding it. Although, the cost in upgrading the safety systems is really expensive but by making this, the company would hold minor cost incurred in medical claims, environmental clean-up and safety and wellness judicial proceeding. Additionally, a safety working environment will do the workers more volitionally to execute confidently and motivated.

Even though multi-national company is welcomed to put in developing state but the safety rules should ne’er be ignored. However, the local authorities itself and international bureau such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ) should beef up the safety ordinances and standard particularly in works location and design.

Furthermore, the chief cause of Bhopal catastrophe was still uncertainness. The corporate policy should be stated every bit clearly as possible so that no statements will be made in hedging the duty for both corporate stockholders after the accident. However, based on the environmental consideration, shuting the works would be the better solution instead than disregarding the safety rules when there is no other alternate pick to acquire recovery from the lost investing.

8. List of Mentions

  1. Bruce Harris 2008, Bhopal Industrial Incident Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.moreorless.au.com/killers/bhopal.html. Accessed on 20 November 2009
  2. Conference Report 2005, Journal of Hazardous Materials, B125, pp. 272-274
  3. Dale Sullivan 1998 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.hu.mtu.edu/hu_dept/tc @ mtu/papers/bhopal.htm. Accessed on 14 November
  4. 2009.

  5. Dinesh C Sharma 2002 ‘Bhopal Health Disaster Continues to Unfold ‘ , The Lancet, Vol 360, Issue 9339, pp. 859.
  6. Edward Broughton 2005. The Bhopal Disaster and its Aftermath. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ehjournal.net/content/4/1/6. Accessed on 16 November 2009.
  7. Frank P. Lees 1996, Loss of Prevention, Volume 3, 2nd edn, Butterworth Heinemann.
  8. Ingrid Eckerman 2005, The Bhopal Saga: Causes and Consequences of the World ‘s Largest Industrial Disaster, University Press ( India ) Private Limited.
  9. Ingrid Eckerman 2001, Chemical Industry and Public Heatlh. Available at: www.dnsy.se/_upload/lfm/2006/bhopal % 20gas % 20disaster.pdf. Accessed on 14 November.
  10. Jackson B. Browning 1993 Disaster at Bhopal. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.bhopal.com/pdfs/browning.pdf. Accessed on 15 Nov 2009.
  11. John F. Steiner 2005, Business, authorities, and society: A Managerial perperspective: Text and Cases, 11th edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin.
  12. J.P.Gupta 2002. ‘The Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Could it Have Happened in A Developed state ‘ , Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 15, pp. 1-4.
  13. MJ Peterson 2009, Bhopal Plant Disaster-Situation Summary. Available at: www.umass.edu/sts/pdfs/Bhopal_Summary.pdf. Accessed on 19 November 2009.
  14. Patwardhan, Padmini & A ; Bardhan Nilanjana 2004, The Bhopal Carbide Disaster: A Case Study in Crisis Communication. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/1/2/4/7/pages112473/p112473-1.php. Accessed on 20 November 2009.
  15. Paul Shrivastava 1994 ‘Analysis Democratic Control of Technological hazard in Developing Countries ‘ , Ecological Economics 14, pp. 195-208.
  16. Paul Shrivastava n.d, 5 Long-run Recovery from Bhopal Crisis. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu21le/uu21le0c.htm # recovery of the victims and their community. Accessed on 17 November 2009.
  17. Ranjit Devraj 2004, ‘Bhopal Nightmare Linger On with Few Lesson Learnt ‘ , Inter Press Service, [ Internet ] 3 December Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.worldrevolution.org/news/article1674.htm. Accessed on 19 Nov 2009.
  18. Roli Varma & A ; Daya R. Varma 2005, The Bhopal Disaster of 1984. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //huberb.people.cofc.edu/Readings/340 % 20Readings/Bhopal % 20Disaster % 20of % 201984.pdf. Accessed on 14 November 2009.
  19. Ronald J. Willey, Dennis C. Hendershot & A ; Scott Berger, 2006, The Accident in Bhopal: Observation 20 Old ages Subsequently. Available at: www.aiche.org/uploadedFiles/CCPS/About/Bhopal20YearsLater.pdf. Accessed on 16 November 2009.
  20. Sumohon Matilal and Heather Hopfl 2009 ‘Accounting for the Bhopal Disaster: footers and exposure ‘ , Accounting, Auditing & A ; Accountsability Journal Vol.22 No.6, pp. 953-972.
  21. TED Case Studies 1996 Bhopal Disaster. Available at: www1.american.edu/TED/bhopal.htm Accessed on 16 November 2009.
  22. T.R. Chouhan 2005 ‘The Unfolding of Bhopal Disaster ‘ , Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 18, pp. 205-208.
  23. Trevor Kletz 1999, What Went Wrong? Case Histories of Process Plant Disasters, 4th edn, Gulf Professional Publishing.


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