Iron Ring 1050 History and tradition Dispelling myths Case studies Concluding remarks
Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer directs the young Engineer towards a consciousness of the profession and its significance reminds older Engineers of their responsibilities in receiving, welcoming and supporting the younger Engineers
One receives an Iron Ring because one has taken the Obligation not because one is an engineer Myth #1:
The Need 1922 - then implementation in 1925 Professor Herbert Haultain, U of T There is a need to bond engineers
Hired someone who can write “he had a wonderful insight unto the engineer as in so many other things” The Bridge Builder Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)
More Myths Is it mandatory? No Is it held in other countries? No Is it secret? No – but it is private
The Greatest Myth: Quebec Bridge Ironworkers,1906 First rings did not come from Quebec Bridge
Canada’s Longest Cantilever Length: 232 m one football field
These themes are echoed in the Ceremony of the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer
Obligation I, _____________, in the presence of these my betters and my equals in my Calling, bind myself upon my Honour and Cold Iron, that, to the best of my knowledge and power,
I will not henceforward suffer or pass, or be privy to the passing of, Bad Workmanship or Faulty Material in aught that concerns my works before mankind as an Engineer, or in my dealings with my own Soul before my Maker.
My Time I will not refuse; My Thought I will not grudge; My Care I will not deny towards the honour, use, stability and perfection of any works to which I may be called to set my hand.
My Fair Wages for that work I will openly take. My Reputation in my Calling I will honourably guard; but I will in no way go about to compass or wrest judgment or gratification from any one with whom I may deal.
And further, I will early and warily strive my uttermost against professional jealousy or the belittling of my working-colleagues in any field of their labour.
For my assured failures and derelictions, I ask pardon beforehand of my betters and my equals in my Calling here assembled;
praying that in the hour of my temptations, weakness and weariness, the memory of this my Obligation and of the company before whom it was entered into, may return to me to aid, comfort and restrain.
Some Resonance Quebec Bridge collapses central events in engineering history. Caused profession to examine itself “... unanswerable proof of the unreliability of engineers and their works – even the best engineers”
The Challenger explodes on take-off January 28, 1986 How could this happen?
Challenger Disaster: a study in Engineering Ethics 1 year prior: Testing shows O-ring seals failing at low temperatures <50°F. 9 months prior: Further test launch showed problem with seal still existed. January 28, 1986
5 months prior: “if we do not take immediate action to dedicate a team to solve the problem, we stand in jeopardy of losing a flight, along with all the launch pad facilities.” No Management Support
No Solution 3 Months Before Launch The engineer brought the problem to peers at an SAE conference. He was instructed by NASA not to express to others the critical urgency of fixing the seal. No solution found to the seal problem.
Launch day: Temp. too low Expected temperature 18ºF (<< 50ºF) Management presented with engineers’ concerns Teleconference with the Kennedy Space Center, engineers recommend Not To Launch Below 53º F NASA management do not accept recommendation: “data inconclusive”
Management overrule Engineers Management (engineering company) and NASA decided to proceed Engineer told to “take off his engineering hat, and put on his management hat” Senior Management reversed a sound technical decision without any re- evaluation of the data
Launch Day Engineers and Management together watched the Challenger explode due to seal failure Engineers had consistently followed an ethical course of action, and tried to have their concerns heard by Management, but were silenced Results will haunt the decision makers
15% steam turbine water Concrete Shield Control Rods pressure tubes Graphite Block condenser
An Experiment Gone Wrong Can power be generated for one minute after reaction stops before diesels kick in? To assess: –operate reactor at 6% output –insert only six control rods (not 30) –isolate automatic shut down system
The accident experiment not successful reactor temperature rose manual insertion of control rods not quick enough
The accident experiment not successful reactor temperature rose manual insertion of control rods not quick enough reactor temperature rose 100 times in one second, reached 3000-4000 C fuel disintegrated radioactive steam released
Radioactive cloud moves across Europe 30+ immediate deaths 100 000 evacuated
Long-term population health? Increased deaths due to cancer expected for 40 years following disaster Child in cancer clinic
Causes of Failure Technical: – Plant unstable when operating at 6% output – Safety trips disengaged – Plant design not robust Managerial: – Safety culture absent Professional: – Chief engineer political appointee in poor health
Theme I: Rule-based vs. Skill-based Rule-based behaviour (following regulations) is insufficient to prevent failures In all three cases, engineers on-site lacked the skills to – understand the behaviour – recognize the danger
Theme 2: Management Support Engineers have a nasty habit of taking responsibility for things that they cannot control Management must – provide necessary resources – balance safety with expediency – promote culture of safety
To Close Iron Ring is symbol of taking the Obligation of the Engineer: – complete work professionally – protect reputation without seeking praise – struggle against professional jealousy – request forgiveness for future mistakes Obligations reflect expectations of society
Professional Engineers Carry weighty responsibilities Must rely on skills, not rules, to prevent catastrophes Require support of management in their endeavours