Health and safety is an important issue in business management ethics. The development of safety methodologies and ethics evolved from the design and operation of chemical plant, refinery projects and in any infrastructure such as railways. In the 1990’s, as train services became more demanding, the safety departments were significantly larger than before and reported to Network Rail’s infrastructure. Tools such as quantitative risk analysis had become available and been commonly used. The systems such as supervisory systems had developed significantly with the initiation of distributed train control systems and backup systems.
However, not all the rail lines adopted this system. As the rail network became privatised in 1994, it has cracked the rail network when they handed it over to operators seeking to increase competition by cutting costs and manning levels. (R1) Unfortunately, the tragedy happened. On August 8, 1996, during the peak time evening, 1 was killed and 69 were injured by train crash accident at Watford junction in Hertfordshire, 20 miles north of central London. The accident happened because the driver did not react to two signals set at caution.
When he saw the following signal, which was red, and applied the brakes the train was travelling at about 110 kph. The train eventually stopped 203m past the signal and across the junction with another line. An empty NLR coaching stock train, approaching at 80kph on his line, was unable to avoid colliding with the stationary passenger train. (R2) Although it was not the worst train crash accident in British history, it highlighted a series of problems associated with projects that the safety systems and the driver’s professional and conduction of the rail network.
It was also hit the Britain’s the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) following consultation with Network Rail, the Association of Train Operators (ATOC), Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR), for a question mark how they sets out the nature and scale of train to train collision risk on Network Rail’s infrastructure. Factual Presentation of Evidence: After a horrible disaster, the cause of this incident was described in the investigation as follow:
A passenger train did not correctly follow the two red signals which meant slowed down and prepared to stop, passed 2 dangers signals. Therefore causing the crash with an empty coach stock train. ( North London Railways (NLR) was involved, now known as Silver link) (R3) 2. The train did not install the Automatic Train Protection (ATP). ATP is a back up system which monitors the speed and position of the train continuously. They know what speed the train is permitted to do, and receive knowledge from outside the train of the status of the line ahead.
They use this information to back up the driver and apply the brakes if at any point he or she is going at an unsafe speed intended to preventing accident from any unsafe speeding. In this case, I would like to introduce the moral philosophy to apply to the case of the Rail track Company to result their business ethics. Thomas Hobbs, the pioneer of moral philosophy stated that philosophy was based on the on materialism; every outcome is a result of physical interactions. A peaceful society is an effort contributed by everyone.
If individuals lived by their own self interests, they would cause pain and suffering to others. But if people were made to live within a set rules that prevented any harm to others then this would be a “state of peace” (R4: leviathan, in 1651) If the Rail tracks company were ethical altruists, they would provide the completely safety control system to the trains and moral to the staffs and to the passengers, it would be benefit everyone eventually. There are two ethical theories that could be applied into the Rail track company as a tool to analysing such issues.
By using the teleological theories and deontological theories it could help to balance a company management to reach the maximum profits and implication of moral. Teleological theories: These institutions govern the way in which the appropriateness of an act to an end should be evaluated. This is the rightness or goodness of an action which is ethical egoism and altruism but can only be judged for oneself or others consequences. These theories are sometimes called consequences. (R5) Utilitarianism: Proposed by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, all actions should benefit the largest number of people.
In a purely business context, maximising happiness is the same as maximising profit or return on capital invested. Improved profitability will generate happiness for some. But to apply the utilitarian principle properly one must consider the possibility that the pleasure derived from increased profitability has been achieved at the cost of a greater pain to other people. (R6) This methodology maximises benefits but this action may lead to the violation of human rights and the concept of justice. Therefore some actions maybe universally regarded as wrong, whatever the beneficial consequences otherwise.