June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
The first canon of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) code of ethics states that “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public…” While it may seem that safety, health, and welfare are all complimentary to one another, we argue that there are situations where trade-offs exist between these important obligations of civil engineers. Our focus in this paper is on the tension between safety and welfare. Safety can be quite costly and that high cost can affect the welfare of an engineer’s client—especially if that client is poor. Given this trade-off, we surveyed engineering students on how they would apply the code of ethics when navigating two hypothetical cases involving helical piles (foundation systems), which nicely illustrate this tension. In one hypothetical situation the client is quite wealthy, in the other the client is poor. Half of the students were first asked to review the code of ethics’ first canon. Comparing student responses will help us understand the extent to which students consider their code of ethics when approaching a new project, and how they navigate the tension between welfare and safety.
Sleep, M., & Rohwer, Y. (2019, June), Assessing Student Responses to the Potential Conflict between Safety and Welfare in the American Society of Civil Engineers Code of Ethics Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32117
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