Principles of Ethical Conduct in Engineering Practice Under NAFTA

The privilege of practicing engineering is entrusted to those qualified and who have the responsibility for applying engineering skills, scientific knowledge and ingenuity for the advancement of human welfare and quality of life. Fundamental principles of conduct of engineers include truth, honesty and trustworthiness in their service to society, and honorable and ethical practice showing fairness, courtesy and good faith toward clients, colleagues and others. Engineers take societal, cultural, economic, environmental, and safety aspects into consideration, and strive for the efficient use of the world's resources to meet long term human needs.

In the practice of engineering:

  1. Engineers shall hold paramount the health, safety and welfare of the public in the practice of their profession.
  2. Engineers shall practice only in their areas of competence, in a careful and diligent manner and in conformance with standards, laws, codes, and rules and regulations applicable to engineering practice.
  3. Engineers shall examine the societal and environmental impact of their actions and projects, including the wise use and conservation of resources and energy, in order to make informed recommendations and decisions.
  4. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. If representing a particular interest, the engineer shall clearly identify that interest.
  5. Engineers shall sign and take responsibility for all engineering work which they prepared or directly supervised. An engineer may sign work prepared by others, but only with their knowledge and after sufficient review and verification to justify taking responsibility for that work.
  6. Engineers shall act as faithful agents for their employers or clients and maintain confidentiality; they shall avoid conflicts of interest whenever possible, disclosing unavoidable conflicts.
  7. Engineers shall ensure that a client is aware of the engineer's professional concerns regarding particular actions or projects, and of the consequences of engineering decisions or judgments that are overruled or disregarded. An employee engineer shall initially express those concerns to the employer.
  8. Engineers shall appropriately report any public works, engineering decisions or practice that endangers the health, safety and welfare of the public. When, in an engineer's judgment, a significant risk to the public remains unresolved, that engineer may ethically make the concerns known publicly.
  9. Engineers shall commit to life-long learning, strive to advance the body of engineering knowledge and should encourage other engineers to do likewise.
  10. Engineers shall promote responsibility, commitment, and ethics both in the education and practice phases of engineering; they should enhance society's awareness of engineers' responsibilities to the public and encourage the communication of these principles of ethical conduct among engineers.

See an abstract of the Final Report to the National Science Foundation..