About the Code of Ethics

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Engineers' Responsibility to Act Honestly and as Expert Witnesses

Engineers are expected to be honest in professional reviews and to act as expert witnesses on matters under their observation, according to Canon 3 of the Code of Ethics (ASCE 3).

Scott's Uncertainty about Tom's Actions and Legal Obligations

Scott Lewis is a registered specialist who works as an unbiased inspector in this situation. However, he is in a very perilous position. The case clearly shows that Scott has no idea what Tom can do with the drums until they are restored to their original place. What he is certain about is that the Environmental Protection Agency strongly warns against excessive hazardous waste management. He should base his decision on canon 1 (f) which states that professionals are obligated to improve the environment by adhering to principles of sustainable development in a bid to protect and enhance quality of life for the public (ASCE 1). Therefore, he has the legal obligation to instruct Tom not remove the drums. More so, he has the moral obligation to advise Tom that any future legal proceedings brought forward regarding the case would be costly to ABC both financially and in terms of bad publicity. In support of this situation, canon 4 (e) articulates that engineers need to advise their clients on situations that may lead to loss or similar problems (ASCE 4).

Public Safety and Environmental Concerns

In this case, there are public safety and environmental concerns at stake. Therefore, Scott Lewis should discuss his concerns with Tom Treehorn, regarding the dynamics of allowing him to dispose the waste on-site of AB's operations; most especially the consequences that come with not following the set protocol. Canon 3 (a) supports this fact by articulating that engineers should endeavor to disseminate public knowledge and provide truthful opinion upon a background of technical competence (ASCE 3).

Scott's Obligation to Object Tom's Proposal

Therefore, Scott Lewis should vigorously object Tom's proposal with reference to the code of ethics. Appeal to the code of ethics is fundamental in cases the engineer is confronted about the situation by an employer or the client (Schinzinger and Mike 23). Also, canon 2 (b) states that engineers should not affix their signatures to a subject that they are not sure or lack competence in it. Should Scott allow disposal of the waste illegally, it would be a terrible imprudent because he would be exposing himself to legal liability. In support of this fact, canon 6 (a) states that engineers should not engage in professional practices that are fraudulent (ASCE 6). They should maintain proper control and uphold ethical behavior and transparency.

Reporting Tom's Actions to Superiors and Relevant Authorities

If Tom ignores the appeal, then it would be prudent for Scott Lewis to report him to his superiors'. In a situation where Tom receives support from ABC's management, Scott is obligated by the code of ethics to report the matter to the proper authorities. According to canon 1 (d), in cases where engineers feel that stated provisions are violated, they should present such information to the relevant authorities (Schinzinger and Mike 34). Tom's true motive is to save on cost and therefore, he has put profitability over environmental safety, which goes against every rule in the code of ethics. It is worth noting that if the chemicals cause environmental degradation, Scott being the inspector will be subject to personal litigation. More so, he will be subject to disciplinary action under the American Professional Society; providing even more reason to report such unethical practice by ABC (ASCE 23).


To conclude, engineers are required to uphold honor, dignity, and transparency in their line of work. More so, they are required to use their knowledge in enhancing human welfare and sustainable development. Therefore, the case study analyzes some of the impartial decisions that Scott Lewis is required to make with respect to Tom's case. By use of the principles under the code of ethics, the paper sequentially explains the ethic of the situation and ways to deal with the matter. The general idea is that Scott Lewis should follow the set protocol and also use his professional judgment in solving the matter.

Works Cited

ASCE. The Seven Fundamental Canons of ASCE’s Code of Ethics. ASCE Library. 2008.

Schinzinger, Roland, and Mike W. Martin. Introduction to Engineering Ethics. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.

December 21, 2022

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