Health and safety

Ethical organisations have always had a strong interest in health and safety, and health and safety has a strong interest in ethics.

The UK HSE has a research ethics committee www.hse.gov.uk/research/ethics/ which has regular interested papers on ethics and Health and Safety.  

Health and Safety is much more than just a legal requirement, but a key indicator of ethical behaviour and business risk.

The environmental disaster for BP in the gulf of Mexico, started with a Health and Safety disaster in which 11 people lost their lives.  This may have been preventable, and the initial evidence on the blow out preventer is that the primary control pod had failed and the system was running with out a back up.

BP had a previous Health and Safety disaster with the 23 March 2005 explosion at the Texas City Refinery, which killed 15 workers and injured over 170 others.

Both disasters for BP took place with in what were previously AMACO operations. AMACO was associated with an number of previous disasters. AMACO Cadiz, AMACO Milford Haven (after sale by the company), and an explosion at the New Castle Delaware plant which killed 6 people in 1980.

By contrast Ford Motor Company in the 1920's pioneered improved working hours, improved wages, clean working conditions, a focus on eliminating injuries at work, work for disabled workers at full wages, lift work balance, providing rural jobs, reduction in energy use, reduction in waste, ran a model hospital, providing health care to workers and their families, took an interest in health outside the work force, and was one of the most profitable companies in the world at that point in time.