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Engineering and Ethics

When we consider the risks in the engineering industry particularly in designing products and systems, there are several questions that come to mind. These questions have to do with the various stakeholders in any engineering effort and how they will be affected by the process and the product. The first question is how can we ensure the safety of all personnel during the engineering process? This question involves consideration both in the short term and long term risks. In the short-term, this means ensuring that all possible sources of accidents are identified and resolved.

On the long term, this means analyzing the workplace so that any possible future harm caused by the environment such as toxic fumes are identified and prevented. The second question to ask is what are the safety features that the product should contain? In this regard, all possible situations should be considered.

Anything leading to possible injury should be preempted with safety features. However, there are always situations for which safety features just could not be created to ensure 100% protection. Thus, it should also be asked what such situations are in order to be able to adequately inform consumers about them.

By asking this third question, the dangers can be indicated on the manual of the product in order to make the consumer aware of the dangers. Lastly, it should be asked how the use, storage and disposal of the product or system can affect the environment. Would the product or system contribute to global warming or to pollution? These are important things to consider bearing in mind it is also the engineer’s responsibility to sustain the Earth and ensure that his or her creations would not further damage it.

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