Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ethics, Code of Ethics, Actions, Engineer, Public, Board, Health, Professionalism

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/02/18

Summary of Case Study

Anchorage city health department is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all septic systems constructed in the city meet the required regulations for wastewater disposal. Developers in the local area sought the services of engineering consultants to certify documents for septic systems. One of the companies that specialized in the design and testing of septic systems is Constructing Engineers where Henry Wilson and Charles Landers happened to be partners. While Wilson is a licensed professional engineer, Landers is not. Therefore, it was only Wilson who was responsible for certifying documents related to septic systems. However, Landers was found to have certified up to 40 documents using Wilson’s signature and seal in his absence and without seeking his consent.

Ethical Questions

Did Charles Landers violated National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) code of ethics by forging Henry Wilson’s signature and seal in the 40 documents?

Could the actions of Charles Landers put the public at risk?

Could the actions of Charles Landers be justified if Henry Wilson was aware but still away from office?
Was Charles Landers long term experience in septic systems sufficient to warrant his actions?
The actions of Charles Landers may have resulted in the violations of the code of ethics for engineers. In the trial, Charles Landers admitted that he forged Henry Wilson’s signature and seal to certify 40 documents. Section II (5) of the NSPE code of ethics states that “Engineers shall avoid deceptive acts” (NSPE). The act of forging Henry Wilson’s signature in his absence and without his knowledge by Charles Landers amounted to deceptive actions and a violation of the NSPE code of ethics. According to him, the forgery was justified because of his client’s urgency since the documents were crucial before any other transactions could be made. Landers should have sought directions of Wilson on what he should do about the certifications. Perhaps Wilson would have directed him to seek assistance from a fellow licensed engineer to help in the certification of the documents on his behalf. The actions of Landers may have also violated rules of practice in section II.2 that states “Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence.” (NSPE). Section II.2.b further states “Engineers shall not affix their signatures to any plans or documents dealing with subject matter in which they lack competence, nor to any plan or document not prepared under their direction and control” (NSPE). In this regard, Landers is neither competent nor licensed to affix signatures or seals in any document that required the services of a professional licensed engineer. Even if he had informed Wilson, it would have been wrong for him to certify the documents. As such, his forgery remained a violation of the engineer’s code of ethics.
Although subsequent review of the documents found no violations of standards but for the forgery and misuse of the seal themselves, the actions were still in violation of the code of ethics according to section II.2.a that states “Engineers shall undertake assignments only when qualified by education or experience in the specific technical fields involved.” (NSPE). If it was the work involving assembly of septic systems and was licensed, it would have been acceptable. One of the fundamental code of ethics is in section II.1 that states “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.” (NSPE). The certification was for a project that had a direct influence on the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Landers violated this code through his actions. If there were any violations of standards, the public would have been at risk of faulty septic systems. In a related case, NSPE Board of Ethical Review cited a case (No.13-11) about an engineer who failed to advise the client accordingly by delaying to address the fire code violations thus causing a public health and safety concern (Board of Ethical Review). The board ruled that the engineer acted in a manner contrary to the code of ethics as stipulated in section II.1 (NSPE).

Additional information

Landers should stick to his area of competence and understand the code of ethics regarding the issue of falsification of documents and qualifications. In addition, he should understand the benefits and consequences for not following the code of ethics.

Works Cited

Board of Ethical Review. Public Health and Safety-Delay in Addressing Fire Codes Regulations. Board of Ethical Review, 30 April 2014. Web. 13 April 2015
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). NSPE Code of Ethics. National Society of Professional Engineers, July, 2007. Web. 13 April 2015.

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WePapers. (2021, February, 18) Essay On Unlicensed Engineer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-unlicensed-engineer/
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Essay On Unlicensed Engineer. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-unlicensed-engineer/. Published Feb 18, 2021. Accessed May 22, 2022.

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