Raising the Awareness of Engineering Ethics

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that “involves systematising, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behaviour”. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value; these fields comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.

Engineering Ethics 2028 describes a proposed new ethical framework for the profession and how it can be introduced over the next nine years. It says the fundamental duty of an engineer should be to serve the public interest.

The vision was developed by ethicists at the University of Leeds.

One of the big issues, though, is that the majority of engineers, around three million people, are not affiliated with a professional engineering institution, and fall outside of any professional oversight.

Have Your Say:

Do you want to comment on Engineering Ethics 2028? By clicking on the link, you can read the vision and have your say on its contents.

Engineering Ethics 2028 was drawn-up following discussion with leaders from the engineering profession, including the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Professors’ Council and Engineers Without Borders UK.

The vision builds on work that started back in 2003 by the RAEng to define the ethical values underlying engineering work. Two years later, the RAEng and Engineering Council jointly published their Statement of Ethical Principles.

But in 2016, a major review into the structure of United Kingdom engineering was undertaken by John Uff QC. He quoted estimates that only 15% of engineers, around one in six, were members of a professional body.

Ethical Vision:

The proposed vision says efforts need to be targeted at bringing more engineers “…within the boundaries of the profession.”

The recent inquiry chaired by the engineer Dame Judith Hackitt into building regulations, established after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, identified a lack of any formal process to validate the skills of people involved in the management of high-rise buildings as a major flaw in the regulatory system.

Engineering Ethics 2028 was drawn up following discussions with the Engineering Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Professors’ Council and Engineers without Borders UK.

Engineers and engineering organisations can comment on the consultation up to January 25th 2020.