Determining Negligence in Engineering Failures
This engineering online PDH course will establish conditions under which, when an engineering failure has occurred, it can be attributed to negligence.
Five causes of failure are proposed: negligence, rare failure mode, overlooked failure mode, new (previously unrecognized) failure mode, and incorrect assessment of a known risk. Negligence is the only cause that involves failing in an ethical duty. These concepts are illustrated with five case studies of failures ranging from gross negligence to absolutely unforeseeable events: 1) the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, for which a new possible cause was identified 95 years later (2014); 2) a building collapse in Bangladesh in which over 1,000 people died—one of the worst structural engineering disasters in history; 3) a meteorite strike of a private residence; 4) the crash of the British-French Concorde supersonic airliner, caused by an unlikely tire blow-out; and 5) radiation overdoses received by patients treated by the Thorac-25 medical linear accelerator, caused by errors in the software controlling the machine.
The 2 PDH online course is intended for engineers concerned with ethical behavior in engineering practice.
This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:
- Understanding the definitions of negligence and standard of care
- Relating safety to risk
- Knowing the principle of Knightian uncertainty
- Avoiding the retrospective fallacy in accident investigations
- Avoiding the fallacy, in accident investigations, of assuming perfect engineering practice
- Using the results of failure investigations appropriately
- Being aware of the negative effects of punishment on learning from accidents
- Categorizing the general causes of engineering failures
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