The Ethics Of An Engineer

Satisfactory Essays
For an engineer, safety is a full time job. As engineers, it is not only seen as fulfilling a social responsibility or an ethical obligation, but considered the top most priority in our line of duty. It is partially for this reason that design standards, codes and specifications have been established. These design standards serve as guidelines or insurance so to speak for an engineer to meet his or her legal obligations. However, at the end of the day it is the engineer’s responsibility for bearing any consequences, not the design codes used. Over the centuries, the need arose to have codes addressing ethics since there have been countless instances of an action considered legal but far from ethical. Among the fundamental canons developed by the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), canon one states a very powerful principle: “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties.” The canons are a good guide for the principled engineer prior to any commitment to a project as well as a path for the engineer through any ethical dilemma. Given the problem posed, there is no single or straight-forward answer. There are many factors that need to be considered when in a global setting such that the end design solution is one that is safe for both the public and the environment. These influential factors are henceforth addressed.
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