January 9, 2019

Engineering Ethics v. the Law


Philadelphia partner Chris Boyle gave an ethics presentation titled “Engineering Ethics v. the Law” to members of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) Southern New Jersey Chapter on January 9, 2019. Chris’s presentation provided an overview and analysis of the ethical obligations that must be addressed by engineers and how this conduct affects the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The presentation was attended by more than 90 members of the organization.

There are at least 2,500 individual Codes of Ethics that exist for 1,500 different professions and organizations – doctors, architects, educators, health care providers, the media, engineers and lawyers, just to name a few. The purpose of the Code of Ethics, however, can be significantly different. Chris’s presentation evaluated the major differences between the Code of Ethics for engineers versus the Code of Ethics for lawyers.

As a former practicing licensed Professional Civil Engineer, Chris was able to draw upon his education and practical experience in construction, engineering and contract administration for civil engineering projects, including dams, bridges, water supply and sanitary sewer and treatment facilities, to craft a strong presentation. He provided examples from the highway engineering field to demonstrate how ethical decision making is important to protect the public.

Chris said that the practical application of the Engineering Code of Ethics requires critical moral reasoning as well as effective organizational communication. The program also touched on issues such as sustainability, acceptable risk, whistle-blowing, and globalized standards for engineering.

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