Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ethics, Company, Incidence, Conversation, Information, Failure, Soil, Manager

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/06


A conversation between Peter, a corporate consulting engineer at Bigness Oil Company’s local affiliate, and Jesse, the facility’s manager revealed the company’s long kept secret of an oil spill that occurred 50 years ago. Various petrochemical products reached the local facility through pipelines and tank trucks. The conversation revealed that 10000 gallons of process chemicals were missing after leaking into the ground from a pipe that had corroded. The manager did not act after the company had stopped the leakage. Various tests found out that the chemical did not interfere with the ground water that was 400 meters deep. Peter, while recognizing the legal obligation surrounding his job, asked Jesse to report the incidence. Jesse remarked that the information ought to be treated with utmost confidentiality and that Peter would do no good to his career, the company or the environment if he went on to report.

Ethical questions

What are the ethical questions in this case?
What factual and conceptual questions need to be addressed?
How could Peter have dealt with the situation?
The preamble of the NSPE code of ethics indicates that engineers should exhibit high standards of honesty and integrity while carrying out their professional duties (NPSE 1). It further states that the services that engineers offer must be dedicated to the protection of public safety. The case study above presents certain ethical questions. Why did the company fail to report the incidence when it first occurred? Was it ethical for Jesse to reject the idea of reporting the incidence after it occurred? If the chemicals were found to interfere with the underground water, would the manager not have reported?
These questions draw serious ethical concerns. The failure by the company to report the incidence was a violation of the NSPE code of ethics. In particular, Section III.1 (a) under professional obligations requires engineers to “acknowledge their errors and shall not distort or alter all the facts” (NSPE 1). This company violated this requirement when it failed to report the incidence for the purposes of ensuring compliance to these codes of ethics. Thus, the failure of the company was an attempt to cover up an error. Jesse was wrong to reject the idea of reporting the incidence. Peter’s job was guided by the law. The stipulated that such matters ought to be reported. Section III.8 (a) requires engineers to “confirm with state registration laws in the practice of engineering” (NSPE 2). In this regard, Peter’s failure to report this incidence was tantamount to a violation of the codes of ethics.
Peter’s situation was complicated by section II.1 (c) which prohibits engineers from “revealing facts, data or information without the consent of client” (NSPE 1). This section put Peter against the ethical requirement about reporting such incidences. Thus, revealing such information would put him at logger heads with his client. The best option in this would be for Peter to assume that the event did not occur. It would be for the company take responsibility henceforth for any error of committed in the past. That the incidence occurred 50 years ago without any possible harm to the life of people provides ground for the company to assume that nothing occurred. Consequently, going through history to discover what happened as well as how it occurred would mean investigating people who might have ceased being employee of the company.

Additional information

Jesse should have preempted the consequences of such disclosure. Moreover, having a clear understanding of Peter’s job would have made him to recognize that Peter was not the audience for such revelation.

Work Cited

National Society of Professional Engineers, NSPE. Code of Ethics. (2007). Available from http://www.ce.wsu.edu/facstaff/~yonge/CE480/Code%202007%20July.pdf

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WePapers. (2021, January, 06) Oil Spill Essay Sample. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/
"Oil Spill Essay Sample." WePapers, 06 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/. Accessed 27 June 2022.
WePapers. 2021. Oil Spill Essay Sample., viewed June 27 2022, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/>
WePapers. Oil Spill Essay Sample. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed June 27, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/
"Oil Spill Essay Sample." WePapers, Jan 06, 2021. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/
WePapers. 2021. "Oil Spill Essay Sample." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved June 27, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/).
"Oil Spill Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 06-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 27-Jun-2022].
Oil Spill Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/oil-spill-essay-sample/. Published Jan 06, 2021. Accessed June 27, 2022.

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