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Ethics in Chemical Engineering Article on BP Accident Chapter 1.6 Terry A. Ring ChE.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics in Chemical Engineering Article on BP Accident Chapter 1.6 Terry A. Ring ChE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics in Chemical Engineering Article on BP Accident Chapter 1.6 Terry A. Ring ChE

2 Six Pillars of Character Josephson, M. "Making Ethical Decisions", The Josephson Institute of Ethics, n Trustworthiness : quality of dependability and includes honesty integrity, loyalty, and promise-keeping. n Respect : treating others (superiors, subordinates, clients, contractors) in a manner to enhance their dignity. n Responsibility : comprises accountability, pursuit of excellence and self-restraint. n Justice and Fairness : be objective and impartial, do what is right, pursuit of excellence n Caring : when ethical decisions are made, the impact to all concerned should be minimized. n Civic Virtue (accepting appointments, give time and money to social causes) and Citizenship : obligation to community which extends beyond self interest.

3 Ethics –"While students come to college knowing a good deal about ordinary morality, they generally do not come to college knowing much about the ethics of their profession. (Because) Professional ethics differs from profession to profession and cannot be deduced from ordinary morality or philosophical theory."... –"While we can assume our students have a pretty good understanding of morality and want to behave decently, we cannot assume that they know, for example, whether to put their client's welfare (or their employer's welfare) or the public welfare first. n For lawyers, the client's welfare generally has priority n What is it for Engineers?.” –Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions,IIT, Vol 13(2), p. 1, February 1994.

4 Issues Associated with Ethics n Ethics is not just Black and White, but predominately grey from the deciders point of view. n Ethical decisions viewed by others tends to be Black and White. n Ethics is not a matter of majority vote but of private conscience. n Loyalty causes ethical confusion –Client, employer, self, family, public - Who comes first? n Protect Public Health or keep your job - Nerve Agent Disposal Engineer in Utah (Whistle Blower Laws) n Loyalty to friend or to self? n To take a job transfer or not - Family before employer? n

5 Ethics n We live in a Litigious Society

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7 AIChE Code of Ethics n Members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers shall uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the engineering profession by : being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity their employers, their clients, and the public: striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare. To achieve these goals, members shall n 1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in performance of their professional duties. n 2. Formally advise their employers or clients(and consider further disclosure, if warranted) if they perceive that a consequence of their duties will adversely affect the present or future health or safety of their colleagues or the public. n 3. Accept responsibility for their actions and recognize the contributions of others; seek critical review of their work and offer objective criticism of the work of others. n 4. Issue statements or present information only in an objective and truthful manner. n 5. Act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and avoid conflicts of interest. n 6. Treat fairly all colleagues and co-workers, recognizing their unique contributions and capabilities. n 7. Perform professional services only in areas of their competence. n 8. Build their professional reputations on the merits of their services. n 9. Continue their professional development throughout their careers, and provide opportunities for the professional development of those under their supervision.

8 Fundamental Canons n 1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties. n 2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence. n 3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. n 4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest. n 5. Engineers shall build their professional reputations on the merits of their services. n 6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to up hold, enhance the honor, integrity and dignity of the engineering profession. n 7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision. n AIChE - 8/16/1980

9 Ethics n "Let no man turn aside, ever so slightly, from the broad path of honor, on the plausible pretense that he is justified by the goodness of the end. All good ends can be worked out by good means. Those that cannot, are bad; and may be counted so at once and left alone.”, Charles Dickens in Barnaby Tudge, 1841 –Many people have been fired for Travel Expense Fraud

10 Ethical Priority n For engineers, the public's welfare has priority

11 Process Safety n Lectures to follow on Process Safety n Student Certificat Program at AIChE n gram.asp

12 BP Texas City Plant people dead 180 Injured $1.6 Billion spent to settle 1000 claims Another Disaster in Texas City April 16, 1947, fire and detonation of ~2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate being loaded on board the French- registered vessel SS Grandcamp in the port at Texas City, killing 581people. French mms://powerhost.powerstream.net/002/00174/051222bp/BPAnimations.wmv

13 BP oil spill in Alaska n March 2006 –6,4000 bbl oil over 1.9 acres –Neglected n Corrosion monitoring –Cut team size n pipeline service n Neglected multiple cries from employees –Guilty to negligent discharge of oil n fined US$20 million

14 BP Oil Spill n 11 Dead

15 BP Accident n The incident occurred during the start- up of an isomerisation (ISOM) unit when a raffinate splitter tower was overfilled and over-heated. When liquid subsequently filled the overhead line, the relief valves opened. This caused excessive liquid and vapour to flow to blowdown drum and vent at top of the stack.

16 Ethics Case n Putnam is an engineer employed by a computer manufacturer. He is responsible for the design of some computer equipment and signs off on the drawings. Although his design has been properly prepared, the manufacturing process is faulty, drives up cost, and suffers a mechanical breakdown. The manufacturing division suggests modifications to bring down costs, but Putnam analyzes the recommendations and finds that they would reduce the reliability of the product that would likely cost the company more through warranty claims. Putnam's supervisor asks him to sign off on the changes anyway. Although there is nothing to suggest that there is a product safety problem, Putnam raises reliability concerns to his supervisor. n What are Putnam's professional responsibilities in this case? What are the supervisor's responsibilities? What should Putnam do? professional responsibilitiesprofessional responsibilities

17 Case Study n Roger Roe, P.E., a principal of a research and development company, proposes to purchase and distribute pencils to present to potential clients. Each pencil will be inscribed: Acme Research & Development Company Columbia, Mississippi. n Question: –Is the type of advertising stated above permissible under the Code of Ethics?

18 Case Study n Engineer A, a professional engineer with expertise in civil engineering, served as a Civilian Building and Grounds Division Chief at a U.S. Army installation. An Army official requests that Engineer A certify that certain arms storage rooms and arms storage racks on the military installation are in accordance with certain specific, lengthy, and detailed Army physical security, arms, ammunition, and explosive regulations, which are cross- referenced with other Army regulations. Engineer A has read the Army regulations but has no significant training or knowledge in these areas. There are comprehensive training programs available for this type of work, but training funds are not available within the company. n Question: –Would it be appropriate for Engineer A to certify as a qualified engineer the arms storage rooms and arms storage racks as requested by the Army official?

19 Case Studies n Can a firm competing for a project take credit for a previous project, when the project manager and the key personnel are no longer in its employ? What should be done?

20 Case Studies n You have just started working for a new company when you boss asks you for information on your work conducted by a previous employer which is under a secrecy agreement associated with your departure from that company. Your boss suggests that there is nothing sacred about such information and that sharing it would make you more valuable to the firm. What do you do?

21 Case Studies n An engineer under your supervision, in writing a final report for a client, plagiarizes his own work that was done for another client under confidential contract. What should you do?

22 Case Study - cont.d n You are auditing a facility as a private consultant. In reviewing production records you learn that the plant operates substantially beyond its permit limits, emitting as much as 50 to 70% more pollutants than allowed. However, when you were performing your official audit the plant was running within the permit limits. When you point out the over pollution to the plant manager, he offers you a bonus to ignore this in your report. You and your spouse have just had twins and could use some extra money. What do you do?

23 Case Studies n Your company is to build a new plant in (pick a 3rd world country). You are in charge of the project. To get the permit to operate you have to get government approval and the government minister is asking for cash to make the decision on your permit. What is your response to the minister?

24 Shuttle Challenger

25 Pre launch Delays n Challenger's launch was originally set for 2:43pm EST on January 22 January 22January 22 –Delay with previous Mission pushed it back to Jan24 –Bad weather at abort landing site pushed it back to Jan 25. –Bad weather in Florida pushed it back to Jan 27 –Problems with Hatch bolts and weather at abort landing site pushed it back to early morning of Jan 28. –Overnight the temperature was in the F range.

26 O’ring Failure at T+0.6 s

27 Challenger Disaster

28 O-Ring Data n Seal Failure Data from 1985 –0.280 in. thick n 1-2 s for 75F n >10 min for 50F –0.295 in. thick n 1-2 s for 50F –(done at 2 in./min vibration rate, shuttle experiences 3.2 in./min. vibration rate) n One cold flight showed O-ring erosion –Primary-1.3 in. length –Secondary in. length

29 Roger Boisjoly n The matter was discussed with Morton Thiokol management - who agreed that the issue was serious enough to recommend delaying the flight. They arranged a telephone conference with NASA management and gave their findings. However, after a while, the Morton Thiokol managers asked for a few minutes off the phone to discuss their final position again. Despite the efforts of Boisjoly and others in this off-air briefing, the Morton Thiokol managers decided to advise NASA that their data was inconclusive. NASA asked if there were objections. Hearing none, the decision to fly the ill-fated STS-51L Challenger mission was made. NASASTS-51L ChallengerNASASTS-51L Challenger

30 Contributing Issues n First Teacher in Space n Conversation with Shuttle Astronauts in State of the Union Address n NASA budget under pressure n Morton Thiokol contract up for renewal

31 n Roger Boisjoly argues that the caucus called by Morton Thiokol managers, which resulted in a recommendation to launch, "constituted the unethical decision-making forum resulting from intense customer intimidation."[ [


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