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Engineering Ethical Disasters

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Thuhang Mai

on 11 March 2013

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Transcript of Engineering Ethical Disasters

Impacts The design team responsible for the Hyatt walkway used the fast-track method.

There were many problems though with their method
Changes in managements and shifts in responsibilities
Lack of communication and appropriate detail
Failure to check calculations and structural details Ethical Issues Throughout the 1970s, the common practice in civil engineering was utilizing the “fast track” method.
Used only when there is a small amount of time to achieve something.
This was where distinct phases in the design were overlapped to improve time management.
Require careful coordination when working with multiple companies.
Fast-track methods lead to more mistakes in planning
Rigorous error-checking needs to be applied. Engineering Ethical Disasters Yaqub Betz, Tanner Linn, Thu Mai, & Anthony Mcwater Kansas City Hyatt
Hotel Ford Pinto Fuel Tank Fires Which was the Most Important Ethical Disaster? Hyatt Pinto Reasons for Unethical Conduct Ethical Issues "While performing services, the engineer's foremost responsibility is to the public welfare." Ethical Issue Grammol, Kurt. "FE Exam - Ethics 1" <feexam.ou.edu> IEEE Code of Ethics: Ford engineers were pressured to follow the "Pinto Objectives" which was outlined as
True subcompact
Low cost of ownership
Clear Product Superiority
Safety was not included in any of these objectives as it "does not sell".

The approved production design did not meet crash regulations. Birsch, Douglas & John Fielder. "The Ford Pinto Case: A Study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology." Page 22.
Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness> "Engineers shall approve only those designs that safeguard the life, health, welfare and property of the public while conforming to accepted engineering standards." Ethical Issue Grammol, Kurt. "FE Exam - Ethics 1" <feexam.ou.edu> IEEE Code of Ethics: Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. (1981) 119 CA3d 757. <http://online.ceb.com/calcases/CA3/119CA3d757.htm> Although a majority of the Pinto prototypes failed crash tests, the VP of car engineering approved the concept without modifications that had passed crash tests.






As the project approached actual production, the engineers responsible for the components of the project "signed off" to their immediate supervisors who in turn "signed off" to their superiors and so on up the chain of command until the entire project was approved for public release "If an engineer's professional judgment is overruled resulting in danger to the life, health, welfare or property of the public, the engineer shall notify his/her employer or client and any authority that may be appropriate." Ethical Issue Grammol, Kurt. "FE Exam - Ethics 1" <feexam.ou.edu> IEEE Code of Ethics: Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness> When engineers became aware that the fuel tank was unsafe, two situations occurred:
They did not bring it up out of fear of being fired.
If brought up, superiors and executives swept it under the rug and told them to "read the product objectives". Criminal Issues Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness>
Lee, M T and M D Ermann. "Pinto 'Madness,' a Flawed Landmark Narrative: An Organizational and Network Analysis". Social Problems, Vol 46, No 1 Feb 1999 Mark Dowie gave a "conservative" estimate of 500 deaths due to Pinto fires, with a possibility of the number of being as high as 900.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) stated that 27 deaths were due to Pinto fires.
Regardless, people died as a result of a poor design that could have easily been avoided. Economical Impact Societal Impact Political Impacts Serious public outcry occurred due to the callousness of the "Pinto" Memo with regards to the value of human life.
movement to improve regulations on automobile safety An internal memo was circulated in 1973 among senior management summarizing the following cost-benefit analysis: Expected Cost with fuel tank modifications:
12.5 million vehicles
Cost of modification: $11.00/car Expected Cost without fuel tank modifications (assumed 2100 accidents):
$200k/ death (180 burn deaths)
$67k/ serious injury (180 injuries)
$700/ burned out vehicle (2100 vehicles) Total: $49.53 million Total: $137.5 million "Ford Pinto Memo" <http://www.calbaptist.edu/dskubik/pinto.htm> Due to the increase of social awareness of the safety issues related to the Pinto, companies had a tougher time lobbying against new legislation regarding automobile safety.
Stricter regulations were passed to ensure better safety standards. The Ford Pinto was a rushed project that favored styling over safety
Ford faced stiff competition in the small-automobile market
Rule of 2,000: less than $2,000 and 2,000 lbs
Ford was more concerned about money than safety
Assembly-line machinery was already tooled while the design of the Pinto was still in progress. Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness>
Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. (1981) 119 CA3d 757. <http://online.ceb.com/calcases/CA3/119CA3d757.htm> Overview Before Reasons for Unethical Conduct Background Proposed Design Actual Design The Disaster Prevention The Hyatt Regency Hotel was built in Kansas City, Missouri in 1978. This hotel consisted of a 40-story hotel tower and conference facilities.
There were three walkways that connected the hotel to the conference facilities on the second, third, and fourth floors.
The project began in 1976 with Gillum-Colaco International Inc. (G.C.E. Inc.) as the consulting structural engineering firm. Wide flanged beams on either side of the walkway which hung from a box beam
Clip angle that was welded to the top of the box beam which connected the flange beams with the bolts
One end of the walkway was welded to a fixed plate, whereas the other end was supported by a sliding bearing
Each box beam of the walkway was supported by a washer and nut which was threaded onto a supporting rod One end of each support rod was attached to the atrium's roof cross beam.
The bottom end of the rod went through box beam where a washer and nut was threaded on.
The second rod was attached to the box beam four inches from the first rod.
Additional rods were suspended down to support the second level in a similar manner. On July 17, 1981 at 7:05 p.m., a loud crack was heard as the second and fourth floor walkways came crashing down to the ground level. There were about 2000 people gathered in the atrium for a dance contest. After the collapse, 114 people were dead and left more than 200 were injured. http://www.engineering.com/Library/ArticlesPage/tabid/85/ArticleID/175/Hyatt-Regency-Walkway-Collapse.aspx
http://ethics.tamu.edu/Portals/3/Case%20Studies/HyattRegency.pdf Havens submitted over 40 steel fabrication drawings to Gillum for review. Included on one of these drawings was the fatal change.
Gillum reviewed and returned the drawings stamped “Reviewed only for conformance with the design concept and for compliance with the information given in the contract documents.”
Havens proceeded to fabricate and erect the structural steel for the project in accordance with the fabrication drawings. http://www.cedengineering.com/upload/Ethical%20Issues%20Kansas%20City%20Hyatt.pdf Ethical and Criminal Issues Impact Reasoning Total Criteria 9 5 9 23 6 Many of these practices were common in the industry
There was no set code of conduct when it came to this
While ASCE’s Code of Conduct stressed the importance of public welfare, there was no strict regulations to ensure that it was done. After Improvements were made upon actual punishment procedures of the Code of Conduct
The verification of accuracy of work has become a standard industry practice
Emphasis on personal responsibility in projects is illustrated in ASCE’s Code of Conduct in 1994 8 6 20 Overview Background The Issue The Consequences Comparison The pinto is a subcompact car manufactured by Ford for model years 1971-1980.
The pinto was rushed into production to compete with foreign auto makers for the small car market. Before production, Ford engineers found that rear end collisions could easily rupture the fuel tank
Since the production was rushed, the assembly line machinery had already been tooled
When Ford officials were notified of the safety hazard they decided to manufacture the car anyway as is. It is estimated that the Pinto is responsible for up to 500 burn deaths
At the time there were no safety regulations in place for the auto industry.
For eight years Ford successfully lobbied against a government safety standard that would force the Pinto to be redesigned
Ford's reasoning in court to not change their design was based on a cost/benifit analysis that put a price on human lives When compared to other cars. Ford makes 24 percent of the cars on the road but Ford vehicles account for 42 percent of the collision ruptured fuel tanks Birsch, Douglas & John Fielder. "The Ford Pinto Case: A Study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology." Page 22. Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness> Dowie, Mark. "Pinto Madness" <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness> G.P. Luth, “The Kansas Hyatt Regency Collapse, July 17, 1981, Chronology of Events,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 2, pp 37-46, May 2000
J. D. Gillum, “The Engineer of Record and Design Responsibility,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 14, pp. 67-70, May 2000 J. D. Gillum, “The Engineer of Record and Design Responsibility,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 14, pp. 67-70, May 2000 J. D. Gillum, “The Engineer of Record and Design Responsibility,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 14, pp. 67-70, May 2000 G.P. Luth, “The Kansas Hyatt Regency Collapse, July 17, 1981, Chronology of Events,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 2, pp 37-46, May 2000 G.P. Luth, “The Kansas Hyatt Regency Collapse, July 17, 1981, Chronology of Events,” J. Perform. Constr. Facil., vol. 14, no. 2, pp 37-46, May 2000
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