PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN ENGINEERING

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1 PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN ENGINEERING BY ENGR. FELIX ATUME, FNSE, mni Registrar, Council for The Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria A Workshop Organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Calabar Branch 10th of May,

2 ETHICS What you are speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say. (Emerson). Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are when nobody but God is looking (Anderson: 1968) It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than with a bad reputation (friedrich Nietzsche, ) 2

3 Outline Introduction Engineering Practitioner Definitions (Engineer, Technologist, Technician, Craftsmen) Engineering as a profession Code of Ethics in Engineering Code of Ethics as prescribed by COREN Codes of Ethics of other Engineering organizations Conclusion 3

4 The Engineer is a builder. Builders accrue great responsibility and liability as well as great satisfaction. -President Herbert Hover said: 4

5 The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in open where all can see them. His acts, step-by-step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air and blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians screen his short-comings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned... On the other hand, unlike the doctor, his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. (Fredrich 1989:546) 5

6 INTRODUCTION Engineering generally is a profession that provides comfort for mankind The difference between the sixties and the twenties is engineering i.e. new communication, road networks, airways e.t.c In all, the engineer has a key role to play in things that improve the quality of life - Transportation, (Roads, Railways, Airports, Marine etc), Telecommunication, Water Supply Systems, Transport Facilities. The engineer comes across as one in constant relation with the public Large resources are also placed at the disposal of the engineer men, materials, machineries and money Crowning all these is the resource of confidence which he has been generously given. How does the engineer manage these resources to the satisfaction of those who have placed the confidence in him. Does the public get value for money on the resources invested? 6

7 Who is an Engineering Practitioner The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria registers: Engineers Engineering Technologists Engineering Technicians Engineering Craftsmen Engineering Consultants 7

8 Engineering as a Profession Professionalism is about commitment to standards of excellence in the performance of tasks which require specialized skills and expertise. Distinct characteristics of a profession include Specialized body of knowledge for the planning, designing, construction and maintenance of physical facility. Code of ethics and standards that govern the practice of the profession A monopoly granted to a professional body to ensure that only registered members can practise the profession Members are committed to constant educational renewal Professional body mandated by law to regulate itself. 8

9 Code of Ethics in Engineering Code of Ethics is defined as a system of moral principles Ethical behaviour is choice to do the right thing. Engineering is an important and learned profession. Members are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Engineering impacts the quality of life Practitioner must demonstrate honesty, impartiality, fairness and equity e.t.c. 9

10 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST A conflict of interest arises when personal interest of an engineer competes with the interests of his employer or clients. Conflicts of interest can distort and cast doubt on the reliability of professional judgment, sow seeds of distrust and in its most serious form can result in corruption. 10

11 COREN Code of Ethics An Engineering Personnel may be engaged in: Research, production, supervision, construction, management e.t.c. May be retained as Consultant for professional advice. A registered engineer when trusted with the finances of his Client or Employer must let his honesty of purpose be above suspicion All the time conscious of the moral responsibility He must be fully conscious that he has moral responsibility for his associates and subordinates. Fully conscious that the profession carries with it, great responsibility to the public. 11

12 Responsibility of a Registered Engineering Personnel to the Profession Shall not knowingly take part in a competition involving the submission of proposals unless an assessor who shall be an engineer has been appointed A registered engineering personnel should only deal with legitimate enterprises A registered engineering personnel shall not be engaged in the practice of making preliminary studies and estimates of cost without adequate compensation. Engineering personnel shall not advertise engineering services Shall not offer to make payment by way of commission or otherwise It is the duty of every registered engineering personnel to report to Council the violation of this Code of Conduct. 12

13 Relation among Engineering Personnel A registered engineering personnel shall not act to injure the reputation of another registered engineering personnel A registered engineer should not be involved in any job that has already been entrusted to another registered engineer A registered engineer shall not review or take over work of another registered engineer until he has obtained a written notification from the client that the former engineer has been disengaged and has been completely settled. 13

14 Relation among Engineering Personnel (Cond t) It is improper for a registered engineer to secure an engagement by reducing his fees. It is the duty of the registered engineer to ensure that credit for work and ideas are attributed to the real authors 14

15 Relation with Employer or Client A registered engineer shall not place orders on his own behalf in respect of a project in which he is engaged but shall only do so explicitly on behalf of his client. A registered engineer shall not be the medium of payments made on his client s behalf. He shall only issue certificates of payment Unless authorised, a registered engineer shall not receive directly or indirectly any royalty, gratuity or commission in connection with the work he is employed He shall accept remuneration only from his employer or client. 15

16 Responsibility of Engineering Person as an Employer A registered engineering personnel must ensure that only registered engineering personnel hold engineering posts. 16

17 Responsibility of Engineering Personnel to the Public Must maintain dignified interest in the welfare of the community Must challenge untrue, unfair and exaggerated statements on technical issues Must enforce technical regulations A registered engineer who shall be convicted by a competent tribunal of a criminal offence will be unfit to practice. 17

18 Responsibility of the Registered Engineering Personnel Must ensure that public interest are incorporated in any contract to be executed Must ensure that fairness and honour shall govern the use of every bid over which he is to adjudicate. Must not compromise the professional standard for lower bidder. Shall not call for full estimates from bidders on tentative project 18

19 MEASURES BY COREN AGAINST MALPRACTICES Section 15 of COREN Act provides for the establishment of: Investigating Panel Disciplinary Tribunal 19

20 The Investigating Panel Charged with duty of conducting a preliminary investigation into any case where it is alleged. Deciding whether a case should be referred to the Tribunal 20

21 The Disciplinary Tribunal Is charged with the duty of determining any case referred to it by Investigating Panel COREN formally inaugurated the Investigating Panel and the Disciplinary Tribunal in 2007 & 2008 respectively. Both have begun sitting. 21

22 ASCE Fundamental Canons (Basic rule or principle) Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health of clients, e.t.c. Engineers shall practice only in their areas of competence Engineers shall only issue public statements only in objective and truthful manner Engineers shall act in professional manners to avoid conflict of interest Engineers shall build their reputation on the merit of their services Engineers shall act to uphold the dignity of the profession Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers. 22

23 World Federation of Engineering Organisations WFEO Est d in 1968 WFEO globally represents all the engineers of all the disciplines. Ethical activity is their most important beacon. 6 canons in the Model Code of Ethics: Sustainable Development and Environment Protection of the Public and the Environment Faithful Agent of Clients and Employers Competence and Knowledge Fairness and Integrity in the Workplace Professional Accountability and Leadership. 23

24 Institution of Civil Engineers ICE, UK Est d in 1818 The founder of ICE: Thomas Telford, the pioneer of consulting engineers Professionals foundation of ICE is based on the ethics that engineers should respond to trust and reliance of the client and the society. The Code of Professional Conduct 2004 and Advance on Ethical Conduct. Preventing Bribery and Corruption are clearly notified. 24

25 Organisation for Economics Co-operation and Development OECD Est d in 1961 Anti-corruption Declaration of OECD in 1997 Criminalization of bribery to foreign public officials. Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials enacted as an international treaty in Just a decade ago, bribery was a part of business. Now Foreign bribery is a crime in 38 countries. 150 sanctions imposed on individuals and corporations 250 cases under investigation 45 prosecuted cases in US (as of January 2002) In Japan, Amended Unfair Competition Prevention Act in 1999 to prohibit bribery to foreign public officials is strictly enacted. 25

26 World Bank On Corruption Corruption : Greatest obstacles to economic and social development. Undermining development by distorting the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundation. Greatly affects the poor because they are, are most reliant on the public services, are least capable of paying the extra costs associated with bribery, fraud, and the misappropriation of economic privileges. Anticorruption is: Increasing Political Accountability. Strengthening Public Participation Creating a Competitive Private Sector. Institutional Restraints on Power Improving Public Works Management. 26

27 NUTURING CODE OF ETHICS IN ENGINEERING FROM THE CRADLE Engineering ethics are nutured through basic training from engineering institutions with the following graduate attributes: Knoweldge base for engineering Problem analysis Investigation Design Use of resources Use of Engineering Tools 27

28 NUTURING CODE OF ETHICS IN ENGINEERING FROM THE CRADLE (Cont d) Individual and Team Work Communication Professionalism Impact on Society and Environment Ethics & Equity Engineering Economics & Project Management Life Long Learning. 28

29 CONCLUSION There is the need to strengthen the Code of Ethics in Engineering Practice Averting the rampant Collapse of engineering infrastructure such as building,roads etc. Practitioners must disist from cutting corners to make high gains COREN s determination for strict adherance of these ethics should be supported by all. 29

30 THANKS FOR LISTENING 30

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