The complexity of surprise industrial disasters, the high probability of their occurrence, their protracted effects, and the risks they impose on humanity make empirical research and international exchanges of information essential. Industrial disasters also give rise to significant ethical uncertainty which requires emergency managers, industrial leaders, and political decision makers to reformulate the manner in which expert knowledge is developed and applied to the tasks of risk reduction and public safety. In assessing the challenges posed by surprise or unexpected industrial disasters, it is the purpose of this essay to heighten awareness of the ethical dimensions of all knowledge in this field. Additionally, the concept of prohibited risk is suggested as a crucial normative variable to be analyzed in the application of this knowledge to the essential tasks of emergency management in relation to industrial disasters.
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