My final paper in my Ethics in Technical Writing Class seeks to understand how decision makers in the corporate world justify (to themselves and others) choices that lead to unsafe conditions, and eventually catastrophic disasters. I used the investigation materials into the Imperial Sugar Refinery explosion of 2008, in Georgia, to build my case. What I found is that often, poor decisions are not a result of maliciousness, or stupidity, but are a result of using a cost benefit analysis mindset when considering risk management practices. This approach does not account for the range of variables that could lead to accidents or disasters, and in the real world we see the horrible consequences play out in rocket explosions, sugar production plant fireballs, and levy failures. My proposed solution, while not revolutionary, calls for more careful consideration of risk factors in situations that may become dangerous; this reminder to take care when designing and communicating the technical practices for others could potentially reduce the risk of disasters in the future. My ethics paper was accepted for conference presentation at the Humanities Education and Research Association in Spring 2016 in New Orleans, LA.

Read the ethics paper here