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Engineering Ethics: The Bhopal Disaster

Training overview
Professional Course
2 hours
From 59.90 USD
Start dates
59.90 USD
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Course description

In Engineering Ethics: The Bhopal Disaster, you'll learn ...

  • Events that lead to the worst industrial disaster in history
  • Failures of the emergency systems that should have detected and prevented the disaster
  • The ethical issues surrounding the responsibility of the parties involved
  • Why it is sometimes not sufficient to merely meet minimal safety and environmental requirements, particularly those in other countries


Credit: 2 PDH

Length: 49 pages

Preview a portion of the interactive version of the course, designed to provide a multi-media learning experience that you complete at your computer.

You may view either or both versions when you purchase this course

On December 3 1984, more than 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, immediately killing at least 3,800 people and causing premature death for many thousands more over subsequent months and years.

The Bhopal plant was modeled after a plant located in Institute, WV that also produced MIC. However, there were some very significant differences in how the two plants were designed and operated. For example, the American plant used the latest electronic control systems with automated safety features.

The Bhopal plant, on the other hand, employed older pneumatic instruments and much of the process required manual control by uneducated, untrained operations personnel. Yet, the plant fully complied with all regulations and requirements of the Indian government.

In this course, we’ll examine the design, operating and cultural factors that contributed to the Bhopal disaster. We’ll examine how a design engineer deals with the issues involved in the operation of a facility staffed with uneducated and illiterate workers, particularly those in a culture foreign to the designer.

We’ll look at the role of the Indian government’s policies and regulations in the disaster and explore whether it is sufficient for an engineer to design a facility to meet minimal safety and environmental requirements in another country.

Finally, we’ll look at the lessons learned from this tragedy in the hope that we can prevent a recurrence of disasters like Bhopal in the future.

Who should attend?

Certificate of Completion

You will be able to immediately print a certificate of completion after passing a multiple-choice quiz consisting of 10 questions. PDH credits are not awarded until the course is completed and quiz is passed.

Training content

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • The historical environment of industry in India and how it affected the design and operation of the plant
  • How the Indian government’s reluctance to use foreign products and technology affected the plant’s design
  • Why pneumatic instruments were used in the plant instead of the latest electronic instruments
  • What is MIC and why it is considered such a dangerous chemical
  • Why residences were constructed so near to a plant that manufactured dangerous chemicals
  • The operating philosophy and emergency procedures surrounding the MIC storage tanks
  • Results of a safety audit conducted 2 years prior to the accident, including a prophetic warning concerning the MIC system
  • Theories on the cause of the leak that precipitated the disaster
  • What caused the safety systems to fail
  • Lessons learned from the Bhopal disaster


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