Code of ethics is a principle which as a guideline to help for a profession to conduct task in an honesty and integrity way. It shows how the profession to approach problem by ethical principle with achieve the organizational goal. The code of ethics is used for determining, promoting, justifying and suggesting the moral concept ways to solve problems which is acceptable by organization and even to the society. For the code of ethics in engineering field, it concern about engineers requires to widen knowledge and improve their skills for further development of civilization and improve the standard living of mankind which the integrity and trust is recognize by the community. Therefore as an engineer profession, it needs to be honesty and impartiality in technical expertise skills of the profession to show loyalty to the community, employers and clients of its effort on the enhancement of human welfare.
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The code of ethics was worldwide applied as for the same quality of profession is. The National Society of Professional Engineer (NSPE) is one of organization which practicing code of ethic. NSPE is an organization which establish at New York in 1934 which dedicated to the non-technical concern of licensed professional engineer. In the code of ethics, they expected their member exhibit high standard of honesty and integrity. They think that as an engineer, their service require to be providing honesty, impartiality, fairness and equity, and must be dedicated for providing protection, health, safety and welfare. In the fundamental Canons strong enforce engineer to be fulfill their duties which hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public, perform service only in areas of their competence, issue public statement in objective and truthful manner, avoid deceptive act, faithful and trusted by employer or client and conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully.
The code of ethics practice in Malaysia is covered by the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), the board of Engineer (BEM) and the Association of Consulting Engineer Malaysia (ACEM). BEM is a body governed by the Engineer’s Act 1967 which registration is needed as a person can be employ or practice as an Engineer. BEM codes of Professional Conduct are amenable and have clear interpretation due the legal connotations which would enforceable in law. The issues of morality and philosophy would be ineffective in law since the impossible of legislate it. BEM lay down minimum baseline rules which are enforceable in law and observed the registered engineer under the Engineer’s Act.
IEM is a society registered under the Society Act. It comprise of various engineering disciplines as well as in type of professional employment and business so its regulation on professional conduct are present in general. IEM embrace wide areas of involving moral and philosophical considerations including public safety & health, conservation of resources & environment, upgrade of technology, engineer responsibility and the conduct of affairs between Engineer and employees. Therefore any disciplinary cases can be referred to the BEM for the appropriate action.
The Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM) is a non-profit organization comprising of consultant engineers. It objective is to promote the interest of Consulting Engineering profession. The ACEM code designed in order to conduct of consulting engineer in the areas like advertising and promotion of works, fees and other remuneration, competition with other members, submission of bids or proposal and related subject. ACEM members are bond to observe the code of both IEM & BEM and details rules to govern the conduct of consulting engineer business. The ACEM code is designed to sustain the strict discipline amongst their member to ensure they maintain their professional status without excessive commercial involvement which conflict from interest.
Case 1: Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse
This Hyatt Regency hotel walkway collapse incident was happened on 17 July year 1981 at the Kansas City, Hyatt United States. The connected walkways collapse and plunged into the lobby holding a tea dance caused 114 people been killed and 216 people injured.
After investigation about the collapse, found out that there are significant changes on the original design of the walkways. Two of the walkways (second and fourth floor walkways) were suspended from a set of 1.25 inch (32mm) diameter steel tie rods where the second floor walkway was hanging directly under the fourth floor walkway and the fourth floor walkways platform was supported on three cross-beams that was suspended by the steel rods that retained by nuts. The original design specified three pairs of rods running from the second floor to the ceiling but the investigator determined that this design supported only 60% of the minimum load required by the Kansas City building code.
The contractor that responsible for the manufacturing the rods had objected the original plan since it required the whole of the rod below the fourth floor to be screw threaded in order to screw on the nuts to hold the fourth floor walkway in the place. This thread was probably have been damaged and rendered unusable as the structure for the fourth floor was hoisted into position with the rods in place. Therefore, the contractor proposed an alternative plan where in which the two separate sets of the tie rods would be used. One will use to connecting the fourth floor walkway to the ceiling and the other one will be connecting the second floor walkway to the fourth floor walkway.
This change of the design would prove a fatal. In the original design, the beams of the fourth floor walkway had to support only the weight of its self and the weight of the second walkway had supported completely by the rods. In the revised design for it, the changed required the fourth floor beam to support the fourth floor and second floor walkway that hanging on it. With this, it double up the fourth floor beam load, this design could bear only 30% of the mandated minimum load where had opposed to the original design where is 60% mandated minimum load.
The designer had brake the role of Code of Ethic where he did not do the calculation correctly and not follow the requirement for the walkway design even though had changes. This caused few hundred of people dead and injured where due to scarcity of calculation that had been done and the specific design that needed to support the minimum load. He also did not pay full responsibility and focus on the design and calculation to make sure that the sustain ability of the walkway, safety of the people and following the rule.
Case 2: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster was happened on 11 March 2011 at Fukushima, Japan. The plant has six separate boiling water reactors (emergency generator) but 2 had been de-fueled and in cold shutdown condition for planned maintenance. At that sudden time, earthquake had came and brought tsunami to flooded 3 of the emergency generator where located at the low-lying rooms. The flooded generator had cut down the power that needed for the critical pumps that must continuously circulate coolant water through nuclear reactor for several days in order to keep it from melting down, the reactors had overheated due to the normal high radioactive decay heat. The reactor fuel rod began to overheated and finally melt down. A reaction between the nuclear fuel metal cladding occurred due to the high heat and pressure of the reactors, it produced explosive hydrogen gas. Several hydrogen-air chemical explosions occurred during the time when the workers struggled to cool down the reactors.
This disaster happened was due to the poor communication and delays of the detail information regarding the disaster and did not share to the others. Besides, engineer also has made wrong design for all six of the emergency generator which is located the generator on the low-lying room. This design cannot work when tsunami came thru because all the generator will be flooded just like in this disaster.
This disaster had brought us many negative effects to humans and all kind of living things. Those people, who are at the location when the nuclear plant melt and explode, had been affected the most by the radiation and harm their health badly. Besides, all the living things at the ocean that near to it also have been affected by the radiation and cannot be eaten. Due to this radiation, all things that have been affected will need few hundred years time in order to cure it.
According to Core of Ethic for engineer, engineers should design the reactor by considering all kind of probability accident that would happened and have the correct design to prevent the reactor from break down. Few of the reactor should have located at the high and taught building so it will not be flooded when tsunami came thru and fall when earthquake. It is an emergency reactor so it should think more probability accident that would happened so that the nuclear plant will have enough cool down and will not melt and explode. When nuclear plant exploded, it will cause and brought us many negative effects such as radiation to all he living things and also the environment and the recovery time that needs to cure is few hundred years. So, engineer should take the most responsibility for the design to prevent those negative incident happened and protect all the living things from being affected by it.e
In conclusion, code of ethics is a basic need for any career. It shows that sustain the career is served services in the right way and without take any harm to the public or client direct or indirectly. So as an engineer, code of ethics definitely needed from time to time to ensure the best effort and solution is make which proven the trusted directly to the client, employer and even public without any self benefit related. The disaster cases happened in the engineering field at the past show the irresponsible and emphasize of the human safety. The improper design and calculation error like the tragedy in Hyatt Regency hotel walkway causes the injuries and deaths. The lack of emphasizing human safety like the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant due to the location design of the backup cooling system at the low sea level had causes the wide area of radiation which is not suit for human living. If the engineer of the both cases can construct the building in emphasizing the safety factor way, the both cases may be able to be avoided. Both cases are the lesson of showing that the importance of code of ethics which the engineer should have.
Part 2 Code of Ethics Development
Comprehension and Concision
Ethics is a relationship that needed work to develop a well-informed conscience and it is about being true to the idea of who we are and what we stand for. We are ready to live by our own ethical principles and lead a satisfying and, meaningful life. We can obtain ideas and applications from others religion, spiritual beliefs, higher order teachings by a mentor or implement these changes by simply using our own gut instincts. Courage is needed to explore difficult questions and it is about being accountable. In order to determine right or wrong, you will need values, moral, concepts, to understand right from wrong, having knowledge, need wisdom and having intelligence.
Here are a few ideas on how we develop our own code of ethics.
Learn what code of ethics is
A code of ethics virtually a comprehensive system of right or wrong. It is a set of guidelines that assist you to make correct decision based on your own conscience.
Use existing codes to develop your own
There are few places we can look for ideas include political ideologies, religious codes, and analytical philosophy.
List down your ideas
You can save it in your computer or write in pencil, so that you can edit it whenever you want to.
Find out patterns and organize your idea into specific principles
Some of us may against all type of violence, so a strict adherence to “nonviolence” would be one of your principles
Adjust your code through trial and error
You can try to apply the guidelines to your real life experience if you have some idea on paper. If you find differences in practice, you may need to change one or more of your ideals.
Go to school and listen, learn something they do want to help you and care about you
Know and understand the law well as it will applied to you and your situation one day
Take time to figure out how the law relates and applied day to day situation to you. In some cases, “law” can be mean as the policies of your organization or workplace. Therefore it is important to know these rules relate to you and how they are enforced.
The field of principle of moral and applied ethics that apply to the engineering practice which are examines and sets the obligations to society, to their clients and to the profession.
How does code of ethics apply to the engineers
Increase their awareness of the world, his interest in the universe as a guarantee of overcoming his spirit, and knowledge of reality to make the world fairer and happier in order to transform nature for the benefit of mankind.
The engineer should reject any paper that is intended to harm the general interest to avoid a situation that might be hazardous or threatening to the environment, life heath or other right of human beings as we can see in case 2 : Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster. The engineer did not take the responsibility for the design to prevent those negative incident happened and protect all the living things from being affected by it.
Provide a basic ethical dilemma that an engineer should have responsible to report to the appropriate authority a possible risk to others from a client or employer failing to follow the engineer’s directions. This can be seen at Case 1: Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse. The engineer should have report the design change by the contractor that does not meet the requirement for the walkway design to the appropriate authority.
Engineers are trained to be more discipline. According to the first principles, an engineer may be disciplined or have their license revoked even if failure to report such cases does not result in the harm of life or health. This can be seen in case 1 and case 2. If the engineer are discipline to report the design failure that does not fully meet the requirement, the accident wouldn’t happen.
The engineers should practice a better duty ethics which is very important for their job. This is because that their design and calculation determine the safety of the user of the created things. They should not miss or ignore even a small portion of changes (i.e 0.01%) where they could save money on it.
Code of ethics of engineers also must be practice among the engineers. This is because they should not do any things which disobey their concept or norms. If they misbehave, they could be punishing in the law and their engineer work will be gone.
Engineers should think about the future problem which could occurs (natural disaster, power breakdown) and try to find ways to overcome this without affecting the users. They should practice applied ethics which is related to this. If they could manage to list down all the problems that might occurs, disastrous accidents can be avoided unlike the meltdown of the nuclear reactor in Japan.
This all can be applied anywhere (company, institute, university) which can help them solve or overcome their problem or issue that they face. This also created a stronger link between the clients and the workers where honesty plays a big role on it.
Engineers should think about their own ideas without copying others. This gives them the rights on their designs and gives them the full rights to change the designs if they do have some changes to make.
It could be better if the engineers creates his/her design of the quality of being original which means that the design itself gives a specific of outcome or usage.
Fresh ideas or design with better application than the previous design also very important for engineers. This creates a market opportunity but the most important is it gives satisfaction among the user.
All of this could be used in company, university and others places to improve their work and product qualities. It also creates a value in the company and people around the world where they have talented people that could produce this type of things.