In matters dealing with public and safety, it is important to maintain a high level of trust in officials responsible for dealing with these matters. Professional Engineers are held to the same high ethical standards. The National Society of Professional Engineers states in their Code of Ethics for Engineers that “Engineers, in fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:
- Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
- Perform services only in areas of their competence.
- Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
- Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.
- Avoid deceptive acts.
- Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.”
Of course, traits such as honesty and trustfulness are to be expected of professional individual, but due to the risks associated with poor engineering, Professional Engineers must be held to a higher level of accountability. For example, an engineer specializing in wood-framed residential construction should not be stamping design documents for a hydroelectric dam! Additionally, Professional Engineers must also dedicate a portion of their professional development hours to ethics training or risk losing their license entirely. Overall, these high ethical standards ensure that a Professional Engineer will design, build, and maintain structures that can safely service the public for years to come.