The Mistral Fan Case
By: Matthew Balkissoon
Mistral was one of the prominent companies in the electrical manufacturing industry. They received numerous awards for the design on the Mistral Gyro Aire, which was introduced in 1968. In January of 1988, a house in Melbourne caught on fire killing two children, causing a public warning about the faulty fans by the coroner’s court. The fire started with a mistral fan, and an investigation following the incident exposed a history of poor regulatory control. Before this incident Mistral had supplied a hospital with 40 fans which were assembled from parts of older units and two of the fans caught fire. During 1977-1978 Mistral recalled the fans but they failed to mention anything about the fire risk. By 1985 Mistral had evidence of 52 fan-related fires before them but chose to ignore it. Following a change in ownership two times Mistral warned the public to “destroy the old fans.” Applicable ethical theories/concepts/terms
A situation where even if someone does the morally right thing, that person has also done something that is morally wrong. In 1976 during quality-control testing at a Mistral factory the fans caught fire twice. The following year at a Mistral showroom in Singapore, the fans caught fire and caused severe damage. During 1977-1978 the Mistral fans were recalled in New South Wales, Queensland, and Asia. The recall notice did not mention the fire risk, therefore few fans were returned. This is an example of dirty hands because Mistral may have thought they were doing the right thing by recalling the product but they were still doing something morally wrong by not mentioning the fire risk.
Using one’s self-interest as the reference point as a gauge of what is morally right or wrong. In the coroner’s report he concluded that “Once the problem was identified, as a matter of expediency chose to supply and accept recognized underrated...
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