The Bhopal Disaster - learning from failures and evaluating risk

Ashraf Labib, R. Champaneri

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The economic, technological and organizational errors attributable to the root causes associated with the Bhopal disaster of the 2nd and 3rd of December 1984. In particular, the technical causes of the failure from a design and operational perspective are highlighted. An investigation is then carried out to determine the major consequences of the failure. Fault Tree Analysis and Reliability Block Diagrams (RBDs) are then used to model the causes, and determine the probability of occurrence, of the accident. The innovative aspect of thsis work is that whereas such techniques are usually employed at an equipment level they are used here to analyse a catastrophic event. Recommendations regarding emergency and contingency planning are then provided. It is concluded that, in future multi-national company (MNC) projects, designs of installations need to be peer reviewed and more stringent environmental, health and safety considerations adopted and that governments need to be aware of the requirement for segregation of hazardous operations from facilities and adjacent domestic populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalMaintenance Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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