Like every other responsible citizen, civil engineers have a moral duty to report potential safety hazards to those concerned. They have a professional duty as well. The first of 14 rules for the professional conduct of all ICE members states: 'A member, in his responsibility to his employer and to the profession, shall have full regard to the public interest, particularly in matters of health and safety'. The problem is, how does an engineer comply with this, and Rule 2, which requires a member to 'discharge his professional responsibilities with integrity', while also avoiding a breach of either Rule 3 or Rule 4?
Rule 3 states that he 'shall discharge his duties to his Employer with complete fidelity', and Rule 4 warns that he 'shall not maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another engineer.'
The Institution of Structural Engineers has very similar rules, requiring its members to 'have full regard to the public interest', and to 'discharge their duties with integrity'. Its Rule 4 is very similar to the ICE's in that it demands that IStructE members 'shall not maliciously or recklessly injure, or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation of another engineer.'