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Transcript of Engineering Ethics
Incident at Morales involves a variety of ethical issues faced by a company that wants to quickly
build a plant in order to manufacture a new chemical product to gain a competitive edge over the
Potential technical and ethical issues arise from design choices, including valves, piping,
chemicals, etc. The process to produce the product is designed to be automated and controlled by
computer software. The process also involves high temperatures and pressures and requires the
use of chemicals that need special handling.
Because of environmental considerations related to the chemicals used in the process, the
company decides to construct their plant in Mexico. Technical, environmental, financial, and
safety problems arise that involve ethical issues.
Gelilio Jr. Richard D.
B.S. ME 5th year
by : Jimmy H. Smith, Ph.D., P.E.,
Steven P. Nichols, Ph.D., J.D., P.E
Time Constrain and Time Context
Phaust Chemical manufactures “Old Stripper,” a paint remover that currently dominates the
On learning that Phaust’s competitor, Chemitoil, plans to introduce a new paint remover that
may capture the market, executives at Phaust decide to develop a competing product.
To save money in manufacturing the product, Phaust decides to construct a new chemical plant
in Mexico and hires chemical engineer Fred Martinez, a former consulting design engineer for
Chemitoil, to design the new Phaust plant.
Problems arise when Chemistré, Phaust’s parent company in France, slashes budgets 20% across
In response, Chuck, the Vice President of Engineering at Phaust, strongly encourages Fred to reduce construction costs.
Fred confronts several engineering decisions in which ethical considerations play a major role:
Statement of the Objective
1. Whether to use expensive controls manufactured by Lutz and Lutz, which has an inside connection at Phaust
2. Whether to line the evaporation ponds to prevent the seepage of
hazardous substances in the effluents into the groundwater,
although local regulations may not require this level of
3. Whether to purchase pipes and connectors made with stainless steel
or a high pressure
When samples of Chemitoil’s new paint remover
“EasyStrip” become available, it is clear that to
be competitive with “EasyStrip,” Phaust must
change the formulation of its new paint remover,
which requires higher temperatures and pressures
than originally anticipated.
Some unexpected serious problems arise.
Statement of the Problem
• Leakage occurs in one of the connections during the
initial test phases
• The automatic control system fails - the plant manager volunteers to control the process
• After the plant goes into full operation, an accident
occurs, and the plant manager is killed while manually controlling the manufacturing process.
Alternative Actions and Solutions
a)Engineers should observe the ethics. Ethics is an integral (and explicit) component of
ordinary technical and business
decision-making in engineering practice.
Engineers impact people and should be more
concerned about people than objects. They should have take a step backward when they realized that there's a leakage on one of the pipes.
b) Market stresses arise from competition
with other companies and from pressures to
advance a design and construction schedule.
Puting up a Plant should not be rushed, in the first place, the management should consider the safety and how sophisticated a chemical plant can be. They shouldn't cut the budget if they want a safe-functioning-chemical-plant.
c) Engineers should know that their obligations go beyond fulfilling a contract with a client or customer.
Once you realized that something wrong is happening, be the first to step up and raise the problem with your management or authority.
Always prioritize issue to the most critical to least critical
d) Think about your company's reputation and the product that you want to promote in the market. Little issue such as budget cut is just a set-back. Priority is fast production than long term plant designing and longer time to produce your product.
e) A code of ethics will provide guidance in the decision-making process. You shouldn't take a project or job that you know that later on will have bad issues. Consider the consequences that you will face in the process of making a project.
Consider the margin of error, reasonable care and your moral obligations.
Criteria of Solutions
E. A code of ethics will provide guidance in
the decision-making process. You shouldn't
takea project or job that you know that later
on will have bad issues. Consider the consequencesthat you will face in the process
of making a project.Consider the margin of
error,reasonable care and your moral