As many as 300 Americans die each year as a result of trench collapses. Although safety measures are available to prevent most of these deaths, regulations do not always mandate the use of the most effective and the most expensive of these measures. This topic is the basis for an interesting case study involving the ethics of making cost versus safety tradeoffs.
This course looks at how trenching, one of the oldest types of construction work documented in history, has now become the subject for an ethical debate on social responsibility versus legal liability. The course is based on an essay titled Engineering Ethics – Trench Boxes and the Construction Site, reprinted by permission of the Department of Philosophy and Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.
In completing the course, the reader is challenged to form his/her own regarding the ethical questions of this case with the help of opinions quoted from the work of several engineering ethics scholars.
To receive PDH credit, the reader must pass a multiple choice quiz consisting of ten (10) questions.
Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained
This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:
- History of trench digging and how this ancient trade has become the object of the ethical debate
- Brief look at OSHA regulations and other regulations regarding trench safety
- The ethical considerations of social responsibility versus legal liability
- The engineers’ mandate to protect the safety and welfare of the public
Click on the following link to the PDF document to review the course material before taking the quiz for credit.
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