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5 Mar 2017 68 Respondents
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By Amanda Lees
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Known safety hazards in manufacturing: Cost valuing human life? (Week 3 Optional for PPE students)

Known safety hazards in manufacturing: Cost valuing human life? (Week 3 Optional for PPE students)

The following article in the New York Times reports on non-disclosure of faulty airbags by Japaneses airbag manufactuer, Takata.

As you read it consider the decision-making processes of those involved and respond to the questions that follow.

'Alarmed by a report a decade ago that one of its airbags had ruptured and spewed metal debris at a driver in Alabama, the Japanese manufacturer Takata secretly conducted tests on 50 airbags it retrieved from scrapyards, according to two former employees involved in the tests, one of whom was a senior member of its testing lab.

The steel inflaters in two of the airbags cracked during the tests, a condition that can lead to rupture, the former employees said. The result was so startling that engineers began designing possible fixes in preparation for a recall, the former employees said.

But instead of alerting federal safety regulators to the possible danger, Takata executives discounted the results, and ordered the lab technicians to delete the testing data from their computers and dispose of the airbag inflaters in the trash, they said.

Read More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/airbag-maker-takata-is-said-to-have-conducted-secret-tests.html?emc=edit_na_20141106&nlid=69125949&_r=0 

Is it ethical for a company, such as Ford, to perform cost-benefit analyses when lives are involved?