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Disaster at Pike River (A) 2014-158.1

19 May 2014



In 2010, a small mining company on the West Coast of New Zealand became the founding member of the country’s International Zero Harm campaign. Membership demonstrated the business’s intention to create the safest environment for their employees while becoming a best practice blueprint for other companies to aspire to. At the time Pike River Coal Limited held great promise for its shareholders. In 2008 the company had received an environmental award from the Department of Conservation, whose Minister described the organisation as a “showcase development”. This would all change with a series of catastrophic explosions beginning on 19 November 2010, causing the death of 29 men.

This case gives a summary of the events that led up to the disaster, highlighting the gulf between the aspired to and actual human resource management. It provides the basis for several discussion directions relating to human resource management, as well as exploration of issues of health and safety, corporate governance, and regulation.

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  • Part B explores the response after the disaster, and can be used in a discussion on best practice in risk management and regulation, particularly in high-hazard industries.
Authors: Claire Callaghan
Published Date: 19 May 2014
Author Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Featured Content Length: 4
Content Length: 6
Product Type: Case with teaching note, Part A, Primary resources