Online Resources for Teaching Crisis Communication:  Emphasis on Chemical Accidents and Video



Video cases are an effective way to engage students with the material.  As some research has indicated, seeing the crisis can make it more powerful.  I have listed here a set of three resources.  The first two are about specific crises while the third is more general to chemical accidents.


BP and the Gulf of Mexico

Most people have heard of the BP crisis in the Gulf and the deaths from the Deepwater Horizon. Frontline did an excellent show about the crisis.  What makes it so helpful is the context the show provides.  It talks about how the safety or lack of safety culture at BP contributed to the cause.  The show reinforces the value of risk management for crisis managers.  The show even goes back to the deadly Texas City explosion in 1995.  There is even a PDF of the transcript for the show.  Here is the link:


Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory is a very old case but shows how problems in the garment industry are not new. It is easy to link this crisis to more recent crises that have killed workers in other countries such as the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.  The crisis claimed the lives of 146 workers.  There are number of videos of varying length for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory crisis.  Here are links to three of them:

43 minutes

8 minutes


4 minutes


Cornell University has an archive about the event:


PBS has a number of resources related to the 100th anniversary of the event.


Here are some links for Rana Plaza:


Has background details


Reports on the outcomes for the managers


Short documentary

U.S. Chemical Safety Board

Finally, here are links to the USCSB.  The cite has reports about chemical accidents and a video library.  Many of the videos are technical but have short segments that are helpful in class to show the effects and causes of chemical accidents.


Here is a description of the agency that appears on its web site:

“The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The CSB conducts root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities. Root causes are usually deficiencies in safety management systems, but can be any factor that would have prevented the accident if that factor had not occurred. Other accident causes often involve equipment failures, human errors, unforeseen chemical reactions or other hazards. The agency does not issue fines or citations, but does make recommendations to plants, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industry organizations, and labor groups. Congress designed the CSB to be non-regulatory and independent of other agencies so that its investigations might, where appropriate, review the effectiveness of regulations and regulatory enforcement.

The CSB investigative staff includes chemical and mechanical engineers, industrial safety experts, and other specialists with experience in the private and public sectors. Many investigators have years of chemical industry experience.”






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