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Professional Codes of Ethics. Professional Codes of Ethics. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

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Codes of Ethics

Professional codes of ethics
Professional Codes of Ethics

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

Codes of ethics
Codes of Ethics

  • A code of ethics isn’t something you post on a bulletin board.It’s something you live every day.

The hammurabi code
The Hammurabi Code

  • If a builder has built a house for a man and has not made his work sound, and the house he has built has fallen down and so caused the death of the householder, that builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the householder’s son, they shall put the builder’s son to death….(Babylon, 1758 B.C.)

Engineering code of ethics
Engineering Code of Ethics

Engineers shall uphold and advance the integrity, honor, and dignity of the engineering profession by:

  • using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of the human race;

  • being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity the public, their employers, and clients;

  • striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession.

Fundamental cannons
Fundamental Cannons

  • Engineers shall

    • hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their duties;

    • perform service only in areas of their competence;

    • issue public statements only in an objective and truthful way;

    • act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest;

Fundamental cannons continued
Fundamental Cannons (Continued)

  • build their professional reputations on the merits of their services;

  • act in such manner as to uphold and enhance the honor of the engineering profession;

  • continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.


  • “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John Shedd)

  • “A thing is safe if its risks are judged to be acceptable.” (William Lowrance)

  • “A thing is safe if, were its risks fully known, those risks would be judged acceptable in light of settled value principles.” (Martin & Schinzinger)


  • “I am therefore I pollute.” (Louis J. Thibodeaux)

  • Up there with economics and safety among the main professional responsibilities of the engineer.

  • Waste avoidance and minimization.

  • Treatment of continuous emissions.

Responsibility to employers
Responsibility to Employers

  • Collegiality

  • Loyalty

  • Respect for authority

  • Confidentiality

  • Avoid conflicts of interest

  • Act as faithful agent

The athenian oath
The Athenian Oath

  • We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.

  • We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many.

  • We will revere and obey the City’s laws, and do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those who are prone to annul them or set them at naught.

  • We will strive increasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty.

  • Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.(from A Book of Virtues, by William Bennett)


  • Engineering is our profession, not just a job.

  • Study of engineering ethics can guide us in resolving the moral dilemmas we might encounter.

  • Being responsible is what a professional is all about.

  • Our goal must be to become morally autonomous in the performance of our duties.

Code of ethics
Code of Ethics

  • Clarifies values and rules

  • Facilitates group cohesion

  • Instills necessary public confidence

  • Used as framework for discipline

The Audience

  • Members of profession

  • Clients, employers

  • Agencies and regulators

  • Public at large

  • Professional “competitors”

Code of ethics positive
Code of Ethics -- Positive

  • Inspirational?

  • Educational?

  • Enforcement, self-policing

  • Resolve moral dilemmas?

  • Alert audience of expected standardof performance

Code of ethics negative
Code of Ethics -- Negative?

  • Done to polish public image?

  • Protects professional monopoly?

  • Status symbol of emerging profession?

  • Can instill complacency (“we have a code of ethics, therefore we are ethical”)

  • Cannot create an ethics

  • Cannot truly codify ethics

  • Of marginal ability to resolve ethical dilemmas without collateral education

Code of ethics1
Code of Ethics

  • Examine each statement in Code

  • Where do you see the professional values we have been reviewing?

  • Do we agree they need “unpacking” and further study to see what they really mean in application?

  • Do we agree that a Code of Ethics is good, but not sufficient?

Asse code of professional conduct
ASSE Code of Professional Conduct

  • Duty to serve and protect people, property and environment.

  • Exercise duty with integrity, honor and dignity.

Asse code of professional conduct principles
ASSE Code of Professional Conduct Principles

  • Protect people, property and the environment through the application of state-of-the-art knowledge.

  • Serve the public, employees, employers, clients and the Society with fidelity, honesty and impartiality.

  • Achieve and maintain competency in the practice of the profession.

Asse code of professional conduct principles1
ASSE Code of Professional Conduct Principles

4. Avoid conflicts of interest and compromise of professional conduct.

5. Maintain confidentiality of privileged information.

Asse code of professional conduct1
ASSE Code of Professional Conduct

I shall:

  • Inform the public, employers, employees, clients and appropriate authorities when professional judgment indicates that there is an unacceptable level of risk.

  • Improve knowledge and skills through training, education and networking.

  • Perform professional services only in the area of competence.

Asse code of professional conduct2
ASSE Code of Professional Conduct

I shall:

  • Issue public statements in a truthful manner, and only within the parameters of authority granted.

  • Serve as an agent and trustee, avoiding any appearance of conflict of interest.

  • Assure equal opportunity to all.

Bcsp code of ethics standards
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

“Certificants shall, in their professional safety activities, sustain and advance the integrity, honor, and prestige of the safety profession by adherence to these standards.”

  • Hold paramount the safety and health of people, the protection of the environment and protection of property in the performance of professional duties and exercise their obligation to advise employers, clients, employees, the public, and appropriate authorities of danger and unacceptable risks to people, the environment, or property.

Bcsp code of ethics standards1
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

2. Be honest, fair, and impartial; act with responsibility and integrity. Adhere to high standards of ethical conduct with balanced care for the interests of the public, employers, clients, employees, colleagues and the profession. Avoid all conduct or practice which is likely to discredit the profession or deceive the public.

Bcsp code of ethics standards2
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner and only when founded upon knowledge of the facts and competence in the subject matter.

Bcsp code of ethics standards3
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

4. Undertake assignments only when qualified by education or experience in the specific technical fields involved. Accept responsibility for their continued professional development by acquiring and maintaining competence through continuing education, experience and professional training.

Bcsp code of ethics standards4
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

5. Avoid deceptive acts which falsify or misrepresent their academic or professional qualifications. Not misrepresent or exaggerate their degree of responsibility in or for the subject matter of prior assignments.

Bcsp code of ethics standards5
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

5. Continued …

Presentations incident to the solicitation of employment shall not misrepresent pertinent facts concerning employers, employees, associates, or past accomplishments with the intent and purpose of enhancing their qualifications and their work.

Bcsp code of ethics standards6
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

  • Conduct their professional relations by the highest standards of integrity and avoid compromise of their professional judgment by conflicts of interest.

  • Act in a manner free of bias with regard to religion, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Bcsp code of ethics standards7
BCSP Code of Ethics -- Standards

8. Seek opportunities to be of constructive service in civic affairs and work for the advancement of the safety, health and well-being of their community and their profession by sharing their knowledge and skills.


  • Examination of professional ethics is important for the profession as an institution, and for individual professionals

  • Solving problems can be very difficult – sometimes …

  • Better ethical decision-making can come from education and practice

  • Education is needed to supplement Code of Ethics