Responsibility in Engineering

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Responsibility in Engineering





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Responsibility in Engineering

Ethical issues are faced in each and every profession. Engineering design isn’t an exception when it comes to this. Some of the ethical issues faced in engineering design are Conflict of interest, whistle blowing concern for the environment. Whistle blowing is a situation where the engineer sees a situation that is harmful and decides to go public with it. In such a situation, design engineers are normally faced with ethical issues either to go public or inform the authorities about it or even decide to take non-conventional measures. Conflict of interest is when a person decides to make a situation beneficial to themselves alone at their groups without caring about other people’s interest at large (Johnson, 1991). The environment is another critical issue for the designers when designing systems and machines that are of critical interest and impact to the environment. Design Engineers should be in a position to critically consider the impact of whatever they are doing and be responsible for it.

A situation arose in a construction site where the authority allowed the putting up of a building at a site that the owner purchased. The site itself was close to proposed dumping site and the owner had no information. The authorities just gave the go ahead to do this and the engineers never considered the impact of the damp site to the future residential houses. Or maybe they knew but had to service the contract before everything was uncovered. Critical ethical issues were at stake here for the people involved and mostly to the design engineer who never considered the damping site.

If I was presented with such an issue, I would go ahead and inform the owner of the building since this is a very critical ethical issue. This would end up saving the owner a lot in terms of the cost of putting up the building and also the land that he purchased if he went to a court of law to try and get his money back because he was duped to purchasing the land. As a design engineer, I would opt for the better and the brighter side by not engaging myself in such dubious practices and self-centered practices.

The challenger 1986 was a space craft disaster that happened during the its launch (Fahey, 2005). It had an O-ring failure and thus made the gasses in it explode thus causing the incident. Earlier on, the people who were testing the O-ring hadn’t been tested it at morning temperatures. They had tested it at temperatures that were about 40. This caused the fatigue in the materials used to make it thus finally causing failure. Negligence caused this because all the engineers knew that they had not tested it under such conditions and they still went ahead in launching the rocket. The 2003 Columbia incident happened when the space ship was entering earth and resulted in in wing failure. This was caused by a little break off that caused the wing some injuries that the engineers thought they were not fatal. This resulted in issues when the plane was landing thus this incident. Negligence was the main factor that contributed to this incident. The people under estimated the little accident that they incurred while launching the rocket and never had issues till they landed.

The main similarity between the two case studies is that the engineer responsible knew about the issue s before accident and never reported it till the accident occurred. They under estimated it. Negligence caused it and maybe if they had said everything they knew about it , it wouldn’t have happened. They both reveal a common ethical issue. Just like from the analysis, it is clear that the issue is consistent. As an engineer, you should be true to each and every detail information that you have. Blame went through the whole situation. Everyone blamed the ones who never took responsibility and for this case the Engineers (Johnson, 1991). They never reported everything they knew thus carried it.


Fahey, K. (2005). Challenger and Columbia (U.S. ed.). Milwaukee, Wis.: Gareth Stevens Pub.

Johnson, D. (1991). Ethical issues in engineering. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

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