More Engineering Ethics Cases
Thomas Mason, PE
Twelve cases are presented, they are as follows:
ETHICS CASE 1 - High Voltage Lines
ETHICS CASE 2 - Trench Boxes
ETHICS CASE 3 - ASME vs. Hydrolevel Corp.
ETHICS CASE 4 - Mt. Dioxin
ETHICS CASE 5 - Free Engineering
ETHICS CASE 6 - Design / Build Bid Error
ETHICS CASE 7 - Radiation from Cellular Phones
ETHICS CASE 8 - Missile Explosion
ETHICS CASE 9 - E-Mail Encryption
ETHICS CASE 10 - The Aberdeen Three - No Request for Clean-up Funds
ETHICS CASE 11 - Toaster Short-Circuit
ETHICS CASE 12 - Use of Another’s Project Study
ETHICS CASE 13 - Airline Mechanic
The course includes
a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding
of the course materials.
At the conclusion of this course the student will have knowledge and insights into the following:
- Applying controversial medical research to engineering decisions;
- One professor’s confusion over magnetic fields from power lines and electric fields from power lines;
- This professor’s solution of grounded copper window screen to protect residents living near power lines;
- The alternative of spending your own money on a Client’s project to protect the public;
- The question of political lobbying for the public welfare as it relates to engineering opportunities;
- The liability concern of raising a legitimate hazard and becoming embroiled in litigation afterwards;
- A strong prejudice of the author against academics as “not being concerned with reality”;
- How we might relate personal perceptions of hazards to our work which exposes the public to these hazards;
- Incidental observation of worker hazards on a construction jobsite;
- Familiarity with the exact wording of the OSHA section on trench boxes;
- The author’s observations of the expected motivations of supervisory personnel in a design firm;
- A related case where the construction manager shut down a jobsite (already behind schedule) for a day after a near-miss and his conclusion that people weren’t taking safety rules seriously;
- A difference in perception of professional liability for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to the measure of $4.75 million;
- A truly difficult case where environmental mitigation was expected to substantially increase immediate exposure to toxic dusts and volatile chemicals;
- A frequently encountered problem of being asked for free engineering services on a small job in order to receive a later contract for a big job;
- Some insight into the way the National Society of Professional Engineers views questions of ethics;
- How to handle a bid error in the interval between selection and contract execution;
- What sealing responsibility means in a design firm;
- A prototypical example of design, manufacturing and operation of inherently hazardous products;
- A repeated question of where lack of communication equals liability for predictable consequences;
- A very current question on the inadvertent export of identified software have a security implication;
- The question of whether programmers are professionals and have professional responsibilities;
- The classic case of “The Aberdeen Three.” This case is extensively discussed elsewhere as the first published “whistleblower” case. The cited source tends to side with the employer. This presentation considers only the facts and imputed defense strategy issues of the case;
- A case offered by a major national engineering school which may demonstrate a schism between engineering courses and things that happen in the real world; and
- A common commercial situation where preliminary work by one engineering firm is given to another firm for execution.
This course is intended for engineers, supervisors architects, project managers and construction managers interested in complying with the law and participating in safe projects and sleeping well at night.
Decisions by design firms and professionals is the vehicle and details of design, research and aircraft maintenance are included.
There is also a wealth of general information which might be of interest to most persons.
Benefit to Attendees
It is intended that persons who participate in this course will be better prepared to address technical and ethical questions that come up in their jobs.
Most courses in engineering ethics discuss principles. That is a valuable approach. This course discusses specific instances of ethical problems faced by realistic design firms and professionals. They are taken from published cases paid for by the National Science Foundation, and other sources. The real-world outcomes are presented, when available but not offered as the right answers. The purpose of the course is to help the student address the questions objectively and rationally, before he or she encounters them in an emotionally heated personal crisis.
In this lesson, you are required to download
and study the following course content in PDF format:
More Engineering Ethics Cases
Please click on
the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your
study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the
file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target
As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience
any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some
applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.
This course presented thirteen realistic cases in engineering firm decisions and the hard choices of licensed professionals. A rigid structure was followed to assure that questions, alternatives, decisions, consequences and analysis could be identified and would certainly be included.
you finish studying the
above course content,
you need to
take a quiz
to obtain the PDH credits.
DISCLAIMER: The materials
contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty
on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials
are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional
advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed
by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making
use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes
any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.