April 1, 2019 Engineering

Make a list of relevant facts
A list of engineering ethics issues
If you were the design engineer portrayed in the video what would you do?
Relevant Facts
Fred Martinez is a licensed professional engineer signed on to work for Phaust Chemicals and design a new plant for the company.

Fred’s challenge was to reformulate a new paint-stripping product to meet new environmental regulations and to compete with a rival’s product.

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He believed he had fulfilled his ethical responsibility to design a safe and efficient plant, but he and his colleagues were told by corporate headquarters to cut budgets and also get the plant on line faster.

The R&D department changed the design criteria by doubling the operating pressure and temperature.

Fred identified environmental and technical problems that could put the safety of workers and residents in jeopardy but wasn’t able to fix these problems completely.

Instead of using quality equipment, they opted for cheaper low quality equipment that eventually caused leakages and death.

A good engineer shouldn’t reveal information about his work with previous clients to current employers. He should also not take suggestions from an unprofessional or non-engineers when doing his job.

A good engineer should have advised them against implementing the project without proper planning and fixing all issues. He shouldn’t have gone ahead with the project.

A good engineer would have reported the case to the necessary authorities when he realized the people he was working with were willing to go ahead with the project despite all the problems they would eventually face.

Engineering Ethics Issues
The most critical ethical issue is that as a direct result of Fred’s decisions in designing the plant, someone died at the plant.

Wally claims L&L controls are the best and that the fact that Chuck’s brother in law works there is not a relevant factor.

The design team made several shortcuts to save money initially and build the plant faster with complete disregard of performance and human safety.

Fred wasn’t able to balance safety and reliability in the plant with the need to cut costs as instructed by management.

Fred decided to apply for a job for Phaust Chemical after just working for the rival company ChemiTOIL designing similar chemical plants.

He disclosed information about his work with the company he previously worked with to his new employers.

No changes to the plant design were made when the chemical make-up of the product being produced was changed and the required specifications for parts were vastly increased
Fred and his coworkers selfishly thrust work on the operations division of the company, making their own jobs simpler and seem more profitable, but ultimately hurting the company
He allowed himself to be influenced by non-professionals and non-engineers and took bad advice from them.

He went ahead with the implementation of the project knowing fully well the danger ahead environmentally and technically.

Phaust did not care about the long-term quality of the plant. They showed no remorse for safety, health and environmental regulations.

Professional colleagues may have said he shouldn’t have been involved in the project of the plant
The death of the plant manager caused by the use of cheap pipes and controls is an embarrassing mark for the company.

If everyone produces a product with inconsistent quality, then a lot of people will be harmed in the process.

The procedure of the project was not presented in an honest approach, therefore numerous corrupt actions occurred.

Confidential topics were discussed freely among the employers.

The plant did not have a correct inspection done before it was set and ready to run.

If I was the design engineer
I wouldn’t discuss information about my previous job with my new employers.

I will not discuss classified work information with my wife.

I would advice Chuck, Larry and Wally against implementing the project on such a low budget.

I would find a way to use L&L controls and good high pressure alloy pipes or pause the project until better funding is approved.

I would ensure proper tests and inspection of the plant before running it.

After warning the team about the dangers of going ahead with the project, if they insist on continuing, I would report to the necessary authorities.

I would have to insist on more time and more money to enable me do a proper job of designing the plant. A lack of approval of these would have led to immediate termination.


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