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Ethical Obligations In The Engineering Field


In the civil engineering field, ethics is a hot topic. Every day, professional engineers must not only do their job to the best of their ability, but they must also consider ethics. There are standards when it comes to acceptable behavior. The safety of the public is the highest priority, so engineers need to consider what is morally right and what is wrong.

Indeed, all engineered buildings, bridges, roads, and other objects are products of technology, and all products of technology present potential dangers. Because of this, engineering is a risky activity—riskier than a lot of people think. As a result, engineering is seen as an experimental process involving humans.

Because of this, engineering ethics is important. It can result in property damage, personal injury, job loss, disciplinary, and impact on reputation on business, clients, and profession.

Ethics Hierarchy

In the civil engineering field, there is a hierarchy of ethics but all need to be considered at all times. There are three main levels:

  1. Primary: Ethical obligations to the public
  2. Secondary: Ethical obligations to employer or client
  3. Tertiary: Ethical obligations to other professionals and other parties

Principles of Engineering Ethics

There are six guiding principles:

  1. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Professional engineers should understand safety violations and ensure that all work conforms with applicable standards.
  2. Perform services only in areas of their competence. Professional engineers assume responsibility for every project they accept, so they should ensure they are fully qualified.
  3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. Professional engineers should be objective and truthful in all reports and statements.
  4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees. Professional engineers should truthfully disclose all conflicts of interest.
  5. Avoid deceptive acts. Professional engineers should not falsify their qualifications or influence a contract award.
  6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully. This is a combination of the five points above. In short, morality and respect for humans are key points.

What Does This Mean for Engineers?

Professional engineers have a big responsibility. They must follow the highest standards of honesty and integrity at all times. They should not distort the facts. They should be upfront and honest with clients. If they do not have the knowledge to complete a job, they should not take it on. Professional engineers should also treat everyone with fairness and respect, without discriminating. They must serve the public and not deceive them.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Professional Engineers Licensing Lawyer 

Civil engineering is a huge responsibility. Public safety is at risk and this needs to be the primary ethical obligation.

If you are dealing with ethical issues, a Tampa professional engineers licensing lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help you understand your legal rights. I have represented more than 100 professional engineers before the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (813) 968-6633.