Important ethical lessons for businesses to learn, says blogger

CSRWire says there are five important ethical lessons from the Chilean mining disaster. They are:

Lesson one: People come first. 54 year old shift supervisor Luis Urzura was the last to emerge from the bowels of the earth and when he did he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera that such an accident “should never happen again”. The President has since promised a renewal of the country’s mine safety laws saying that “never again in Chile would people be allowed to work in such inhumane conditions”.

“The Chilean President’s commitment to free-market fundamentalism went part and parcel with the reason the mine disaster happened in the first place,” according to CSRWire’s report.

Lesson two: Regulation is necessary. “The San Jose mine was private and unregulated with an atrocious safety record,” claimed the story.

“It violated the law by not having a second entrance, which could have supplied an exit to the miners when the section they were in collapsed. Nor was there even the required ladder that would have allowed the miners to escape.”

Lesson three: Cooperation is key to survival. The way the miners organised themselves in confinement with well planned routines helped them emerge from underground mentally and physically healthy, despite their ordeal.

Lesson four: The state can be more effective than business at responding to emergencies. The state run Codelco mining firm led the rescue effort and paid most of the cost. Meanwhile the San Esteban Primera mining company, the private owner of the mine, “abandoned the miners to their fate”, according to CSRWire, and is reportedly filing for bankruptcy.

Lesson five: Listen to workers—they are the experts. Many of the miners did not want to go into the mine because they were aware of the risks on account of the poor safety conditions. Two of the miners also reportedly suffer from the occupational disease silicosis.