Continuing Education | The Importance of Engineering Ethics

Engineering Ethics Courses Are an Important Element of Your Continuing EducationContinuing Education The Importance of Engineering Ethics

Completing your years at college and graduating as a qualified engineer might seem to be enough for most people. It does give you the knowledge and skills that you require to get a job and start earning money. However, this is not where education should be stopped for engineers.

Engineers should go on and get further education regarding the code of conduct and engineering ethics. It makes them better prepared for the workplace and teaches them to face issues that are not commonly not talked about in their classrooms during their college days. An engineer who has knowledge about the workplace automatically becomes more valuable than someone who has only studied his books to get to where he is at. The former has more experience and knowledge about real-world problems, what causes them, how to solve them, and the consequences if left unresolved.

What are the ethical issues in Engineering practice?

Many ethical issues are faced during engineering practice. Some of them are:

1 Safety

Safety is one of the most stressed moral codes in the field of engineering. Engineers are required to make products that are entirely safe for the environment as well as the users. Now, it is not possible to make a product that is 100% safe for both nature and the users. So, the expectations are kept realistic, and engineers are required to create products that are as safe as reasonably possible to be made.

2 Sustainability

Sustainability means that society lives within its carrying capacity and does not exceed its limits. In engineering practice, sustainability implies that no designs made, nor any work under process, should harm the natural environment in any possible manner. The code of ethics has a complete set of rules that promote replenishing as well as limiting pollution. Engineers work to improve the ways of living within the society; one way of achieving this goal is to preserve the natural environment and make efforts to make it better.

3 Confidentiality

Confidentiality means not disclosing any facts or information that are deemed to be kept secret. It may not only restrict to the workplace or the information of the company that you are working for. It also means client confidentiality, which means you have to respect your client’s privacy and refrain from disclosing any information about your client without their consent.

4 User autonomy

Autonomy is the need for people to perceive that they have choices and are not being forced into doing something. They should have a sense of freedom of choice. The word autonomy means the independence of actions and thoughts. A very common example if of a young teenager who is now living away from his family for the first time. Unlike before, when his parents would make most of the decisions for him, they are entirely self-reliant and free to make their own choices.

Why do engineers have a code of ethics?

Engineers have a code of ethics to help them set standards for professional behavior. When all the people in your profession have the same ethics code that they follow, you can expect other engineers to behave with the same level of integrity and honesty. It not only makes the workplace better, but an adequately set and followed code of ethics also builds up a reputation for engineers as well. This gives clients confidence when working with them.

What is an example of an ethical principle in the Engineering profession?

A common ethical principle in the engineering profession is “Whistleblowing.” Whistleblowing means reporting the authority about any possible risk from either a client or an employer. Failing to report to the authority may cause the revocation of your license even if the matter did not risk any harm to life or health. It is a duty to report any noticed wrongdoing in the profession.

If the authority refuses to listen or take appropriate action, the engineer has the right to go public. It is a recurrent practice among engineers to speak up against any wrongdoing and courts more often than not, have sided with the engineers in such situations, overruling any duties or considerations that may prevent the engineer from speaking.

Which is the highest degree of responsibility in Engineering ethics?

All the modern ethical codes clearly state that the highest responsibility of engineers is the protection of public health, welfare, and safety. No action of engineers should harm the public in any way. The health and safety of the people are above all, according to the codes of engineering ethics. Even when the engineers start a new project, the first thing to keep in mind is that the project will not harm society either directly or indirectly.

What are human values in Engineering ethics?

Human values in engineering ethics include things like morals, integrity, truthfulness, and respect. Engineering ethics teach engineers to treat people with respect and be honest with them. Honesty does not mean to only honestly answer questions that are asked, but to disclose any information or facts that they deserve to know, or should be in their knowledge.

These are some of the fundamental human values for both people inside the workplace and the general public. We, as human beings, should treat each other with respect, regardless of their profession, caste, color, or race.

Why should engineers study ethics?

Studying ethics allows engineers to better understand what kind of behavior is expected from them and their duties towards their profession, clients, and the public. It also prepares engineers for possible ethical issues that they might face during their careers and gives them an idea for dealing with those issues.

Studying past ethical issues can allow engineers to learn from previous engineers’ success stories and failures, which prepares them for the workplace environment. It tells them what a perfectly professional workplace looks like, and what are the possible measures they can take if the environment is not like what it should be. It teaches engineers to independently and critically think about the moral issues that they face.