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Why Are Ethics So Important For Professional Engineers?


The buildings you enter, the roads you drive on, and the bridges you cross were all created by engineers. Even if you are familiar with all the software involved and the necessary processes, engineering is not easy.

That’s because professional engineers need to be ethical in everything they do. After all, their designs affect the health and safety of the public. But the problem is that not many engineers are taught ethics in school.

Ethics are essential for engineers because they ensure the safety, well-being, and trustworthiness of engineering projects. However, being ethical is not always a priority for professional engineers or the companies they work for. A survey showed that 92% of respondents said ethical issues exist and could be improved. The good news is that this has led companies to examine their ethical standards, but will it be enough?

What Are Engineering Ethics?

Engineering ethics are guidelines that engineers should follow to ensure their decision-making is aligned with their obligations to the public and the industry in general. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers’ (NSPE), the standards of ethical behavior engineers should follow in their professional lives include the following:

  • Protecting public safety
  • Only performing qualified tasks
  • Being honest in public communications
  • Acting with integrity
  • Being trustworthy to employers

Importance of Ethics

Ethics matter in engineering. Here are some reasons why:

  • Engineers design and create products, systems, and infrastructure that directly impact people’s lives. Ethical considerations ensure that these creations prioritize the safety and functionality of users as well as society as a whole.
  • Secures company assets. Engineering ethics help ensure that the behavior of your team members and leaders protects your company’s intellectual property and confidential information from theft or misuse. The creations of your team are often recognized as the property of either your client or the individual responsible for those assets, so you’ll need to acknowledge such ownership agreements before beginning work.
  • Legal compliance. Many engineering projects are subject to legal regulations and standards. Ethical behavior ensures compliance with these laws, preventing legal liabilities and potential consequences for both individuals and organizations.
  • Long-term impact. Engineering projects often have long-term consequences that extend beyond their initial implementation. Ethical decision-making involves considering the potential impact of projects on future generations and ensuring sustainable solutions.
  • Protect other engineers. Engineering ethics also help protect individual engineers by discouraging all industry professionals from engaging in unethical behavior for their benefit. The NSPE’s code of ethics states that “engineers shall not attempt to obtain employment or advancement by untruthfully criticizing other engineers.”

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

Ethics is very important in all types of engineering, but students and professionals are not always taught the implications.

Unethical behaviors and decisions can lead to administrative issues and possibly even criminal liability. If you are facing a situation that could affect your license, get the help you need from a Tampa professional engineers licensing lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. I have represented more than 100 professional engineers before the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. To schedule a consultation, call (813) 968-6633 or fill out the online form.