Ethical Codes

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This review will look at case number 14-4 which is on Public health and safety- failure of company employees to follow design and construction specifications ( The mentioned case involves an engineer who is professionally licensed in several states and is an employee of a company that deals with design and construction for the local mining industry. The engineer is responsible for all the construction calculations, structural drawings, facilities, retaining walls, trusses and ensures that the structural layout drawings are followed by details. However, the engineer became aware that the drawings provided were not being followed according to his instructions and according to the given specifications. After final review, the designs were still altered, and decisions that were to be made after consultations about design were done without him being involved with the project manager, the engineering manager and the VP for the construction. The VP for construction has 35 years experience in the field but the managers or officers working under him do not possess engineering degrees and cannot be involved in performing engineering calculations.

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The ethical issue at hand is the failure of other players in the construction project to follow the appropriate protocol regarding consultation with the responsible engineer and failure to develop the structural design to specification. The failure to support the plan and involve engineer A can lead to wrong calculation and design which can lead to accidents and overall disaster to the final result of the construction. Engineer A, therefore, has an ethical responsibility of reporting the matter to the authorities in the company and if that does not work the engineer must alert public officials. In this case, a consequentialist would not find any issue with the case because there has not been any consequence as a result of the other parties not following the drawing specifications and there has not been any consequence due to engineer A not being consulted by the VP and the project engineer. If there were to be an accident due to lack of consultation or failure to follow the drawing specifications, then the consequentialist would see it as an infringement of ethics. A deontologist understands that ethics is about obeying God. In this case, a deontologist would not view the matter as an ethical issue because morally there is nothing wrong that the VP and the other parties have done wrong. A virtue ethicist would see the issue as a violation of ethics codes because they focus on a persons character; the VP should be polite enough to involve Engineer A when it comes to anything about the construction and design or materials because Engineer A is the recognized engineer in the project.

The code of ethics related to this case emphasizes the importance of engineers while conducting their duties must be keen on the safety and health of the public. Furthermore, the code of ethics stresses the need for an engineer to notify the public officials in case there is an indication of danger and anything that can compromise the safety of the public. Documents that do not reach the engineering standards cannot be approved by an engineer. Most importantly any documents not reaching the engineering standards cannot be signed or sealed by an engineer.

The board noted that the final drawings were changed without Engineer As knowledge and, therefore, raised questions about the integrity of the company. At the same time, the board thought it was necessary for Engineer A to notify the company officials and if nothing was done then go ahead and inform the public officials and federal state. Personally, I would not hold engineer A responsible because he followed the rules and gave final accurate drawings which were changed without his consent. Furthermore, the decision to make critical decisions without consulting engineer A indicate that the engineer had nothing to do because he was blocked from the project to some extent. This case was straightforward because of the circumstances, and I expect to meet such cases in my career.


NSPE, (2015) Public Health and Safety- Failure of Company Employees to Follow Designs and Construction Specifications.NSPE Board of Ethics Review. Accessed [8th Feb 2016].

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