Engineering Disasters – Ethical Implications for Professional Engineers

Engineering Ethics and Design DecisionsEngineering Disasters – Ethical Implications for Professional Engineers

Engineers have developed some amazing things throughout the course of history and changed human lives in profound ways. From transportation to buildings and everything in between, our modern world has been touched in one form or another by an engineer. When these designs work the way they should, they are marvels of innovation and advancement.

However, every so often, something goes wrong with an engineering design. In one sense, it is to be expected, as we are only human. However, the impacts can cost lives, and engineers must, therefore, be cautious and work within the limits of their expertise and experience. The public’s confidence in technology is built on the understanding that engineers will be honest and make safety their first priority. This trust is woven into the canon of ethics all engineers must uphold. Whenever an engineer fails to protect the public or follow

Every engineering failure, no mater how small, erodes the public’s trust in the profession. Without trust, engineers lose the ability to freely innovate and improve our quality of life. Studying engineering disasters is very useful because it allows us to learn from the mistakes of others, thereby reducing the likelihood of another tragedy.

Below are some of the worst engineering disasters that have occurred in modern history. Read our Comprehensive Guide to Engineering Ethics.

Engineering Disaster Courses You May Find Interesting

PDH-Pro offers several ethics courses that explore engineering tragedies.

Case Study – The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis This course explores the competing demands placed on engineers, and the importance of meeting ethical obligations.
Case Study: The PEPCON Disaster Learn about the role of corporate bureaucracy in engineering disasters and how engineers can reduce risks and avoid disasters.
Ethics Case Study: The Bhopal Tragedy This course answers the question – is it ethical to have lower standards for maintenance and training at facilities located outside the United States.
Case Study: The Flint Water Crisis A video presentation of the large-scale lead poisoning tragedy that occurred in present day America.

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