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The Importance of Engineering Ethics

            "The Importance of Engineering Ethics".
             It is critical for an engineer to maintain an ethical reputation within his/her engineering career. The main principles that an engineer should work and live by are "to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, perform services only in areas of their competence, act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, avoid deceptive acts, and conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession" (NSPE Code of Ethics 1). It is the engineer's responsibility to uphold his/her position to the fullest in taking everything into account before making a critical decision.
             Ethical and moral decisions often have severe consequences. "In a world increasingly shaped by technology, engineers have a moral obligation to consider the consequences of their choices" (Ganssle 1). It is very important for an engineer to use clear judgment when a safety problem is at stake, especially in disaster recovery. When a safety problem is a concern it may be easy to not report it; however, an engineer has an ethical responsibility to report all safety issues even though by doing so, he/she may run the risk of being penalized, fired or blacklisted. The line between ethical, moral standards and circumstances where jobs are at stake becomes very thin. For example, "Engineer A learns that his employer is violating environmental regulations relating to acceptable toxicity levels of waste materials being released by the employer's industrial facility. Does he report this fact to the public authorities or the media?" (Schwartz 1) In this case due to Section 2, 1F of the NSPE Code of Ethics which clearly states that "Engineers having knowledge of any alleged violation of this Code shall report thereon to appropriate professional bodies and, when relevant, also to public authorities, and cooperate with the proper authorities in furnishing such information or assistance as may be required," there should be no question as to what response should be taken.

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