Coal Mines in China: Putting Profits Before Safety?*



Case Code : CLBE004
Publication date : 2008
Subject : Business Ethics
Industry :
Length : 03 Pages


Short Case Study Price: INR 100;

Buy Now

To download this case click on the button below, and select the case from the list of available cases:

Short Case Studies

Abstract: ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India RSS Feed

Coal mines in China have become virtual death traps for the workers as mine owners allegedly pay scant attention to workplace safety. According to analysts, the disaster at a coal mine owned by Rui Zhiyuan Company in 2007 was yet another example of what was wrong with the Chinese coal mines. It raised some serious ethical issues and led critics to insist that the Chinese coal mine owners were putting profits ahead of the safety of its employees.


Workplace safety.
Process safety.
Ethics and social responsibility.


On December 5, 2007, an explosion occurred at the coal mine owned by Rui Zhiyuan Company (RZC) in China. It was yet another deadly coal mining explosion in China reported that year. The earlier explosions had occurred at Yujialing Coal Mine killing 26 workers in March 2007 and Pudeng Coal Mine where 28 mine workers had died in May 2007...

Questions for Discussion:

1. Analyze the underlying reasons for the disaster at the coal mines in China in general and at Rui Zhiyuan Company in particular? Do you think that the companies running the coal mines in China are putting profits before the safety of its employees?
2. According to you what concrete steps should be taken by the company/companies to address this issue? What should be the role of the government?

Cases on Related Topic

1. BP: Putting Profits Before Safety?
2. Quality and Safety Practices at LEGO
3. The Bribery Scandal at Siemens AG
4. The Body Shop: Social Responsibility or Sustained Greenwashing?

Key words:
Ethical issues, workplace safety, process safety, safety campaign, safety mechanism, China, coal mine, Rui Zhiyuan Company, management, manufacturing

* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
** More comprehensive case studies are priced at Rs.200 to Rs.700 (US $5 to US $16) per copy.