• The difference between negligence, malpractice and commercial liability.
• Ways engineers can avoid, manage and remediate WHS risks.
• How engineers can be held personally liable for their decisions. The advantages and drawbacks of risk assessment frameworks when working globally.
• The influence of values on ethical decisions.
• How moral theories apply in ethics.
• The critical importance, but potential limitations of codes of ethics.
• How macro ethics differ from micro ethics.
• The role culture and corruption play in ethical decisions and perspectives across the globe.
During the second half of the twentieth century, engineering ethics became increasingly engaged with professionalized philosophy and expanded in a trajectory that moves from discussions based initially in two particular countries through discussions in many countries. The expansion has raised questions related to globalization and suggests the need for a movement from ethics to politics. This chapter summarises these developments, with some reference to the contexts in which they have taken place. Different developments in engineering ethics are described and the authors try to identify the problems that gave rise to distinct engineering ethics discussions. In conclusion the authors suggest the emergence of new problems and try to point toward future developments.
This chapter argues that social science should be seen as central for understanding how technologies can be developed, applied and mobilised to solve problems at every level. This perspective applies to a range of scales – from local projects in isolated locations through to addressing the global goals of sustainable development. Key concepts: Social context of technical projects; social values, stakeholders, and participation; capability, corruption and good governance; policies, regulations and incentives; democratic and authoritarian decision-making; evaluating effectiveness; forecasting and planning for future needs.
Engineering codes of ethics consist of sets of rules and are adopted by engineers' professional associations. They have existed since 1912 and have both spread into a growing number of fields of the engineering professions and become considerably more sophisticated. Recent codes distinguish between the general obligation of the engineer towards universal moral principles as a private citizen and the more specific responsibility resulting from the engineer's specific knowledge about technological issues. Since engineering codes are designed to cover a wide range of ethical orientations, they are usually based on some fundamental principles that are considered to express a kind of moral common sense (which nevertheless does not allow for, e.g., the problem of differing interpretations of such principles). As far as the legal status of the codes is concerned, they are not directly legally binding, but nevertheless can become important both as a point of orientation for professional action and legal evaluation of it and as association by law which is binding on engineers as members of associations, and is often taken into consideration in court trials.
The paper examines integrity and courage in the context of innovation, sustainability and the IChemE Charter which requires that all Members 'so order their conduct as to uphold the dignity and reputation of their profession and safeguard the public interest in matters of safety, health and otherwise. [and] exercise their professional skill and judgment to the best of their ability and discharge their professional responsibilities with integrity'. The paper will show how courageous behavior can be nurtured and how reflection can contribute to professional development, sustainability and integrity.
Chapter 6.4. provides an overview of Engineers Australia Code of Ethics, which provides guidelines on professional conduct, recognizing that standards for acceptable conduct are not permanently fixed and can change over time, depending on the nature of relevant circumstances, but they will always represent the enduring ethical values and principles of the profession.
Four principles of ethical conduct are defined:
1. Demonstrate integrity through honest practice, being well-informed, and respecting the dignity of all persons.
2. Practice competently by maintaining and developing knowledge and skills, with a sense of objectivity and adequate information for exercising judgement.
3. Exercise leadership by upholding the reputation of others and of the profession, supporting diversity, and communicating effectively.
4. Promote sustainability through responsible engagement of the community, by fostering the health and wellbeing of humans and the environment, and with a commitment to future generations.