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Engineering As Law: Injury Epidemiology And Consensus Codes

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Historical Perspectives for Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.477.1 - 15.477.35



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Paper Authors

author page

Rachel Maines Cornell University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Engineering as Law: Injury Epidemiology and Consensus Codes


British Field Marshal John Slessor observed during World War II that the first social

service a nation can provide for its people is to keep them alive.1 As the recent experience of the

Haiti earthquake has forcefully brought home to us, engineering safety codes and standards play

a major role in this vital function of government.2 ,3 From the point of view of keeping citizens

alive, the development, incorporation into law, and enforcement of consensus safety codes for

the built environment makes safety engineering the instrumental arm of injury epidemiology in

industrial democracies. This important concept is not customarily taught as a component of

engineering education, nor is it often used as a means of attracting students to the profession of

engineering. I intend to discuss in this paper the educational advantages of incorporating such

material into college curricula across disciplines, and the historical substance and value of the

case study material available to educators.

Educational Objectives

At the college level, there are notoriously few crosswalks for students to or from

engineering into other disciplines.4,5,6,7 Building codes are rarely taught as a separate subject

above the community college level, and when taught, are typically embedded as a unit in

Maines, R. (2010, June), Engineering As Law: Injury Epidemiology And Consensus Codes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16020

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