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Topic Title: Engineers must play by the rules.
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Created On: 18 May 2010 08:43 PM
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 18 May 2010 08:43 PM
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This article was in the Sunday Times (Ireland) could it equally apply to UK engineering.

Think Tank: Engineers must play by the rules
The financial crisis showed that regulation is vital for all sectors

 18 May 2010 09:51 PM
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Most of the big problems are caused by poor management and yet anyone can be a manager or politician or minister without any qualifications for the job.

Let's regulate that first and then see what problems remain to be solved.

 18 May 2010 10:22 PM
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Not sure about Ireland but

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

If only bankers and politicians had such a thing

 20 May 2010 11:01 PM
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Again, I can't speak for Ireland, but to suggest that UK engineering is not regulated where it affects safety would be slightly bizarre. From domestic wiring to safety-critical industries such as my own of railway signalling there are huge swathes of regulations and processes to protect the public.

But many engineering roles are not safety critical, and to say that all engineering work must be carried out under all the same processes would simply not make sense. What we have could no doubt be improved, and should always be re-examined, but there is no great evidence that I know of that UK engineers are currently putting people at unacceptable risk, and there is a balance with ensuring that technological development is not hindered by unnecessary regulation. Again, I would use the rail industry as an example here: it was strongly suggested a few years ago that passengers were actually being put at greater risk because the then current approval regimes for new products were so slow and tortuous that our technology lagged behind world class levels. Personally I am far more worried about lack of innovation in the UK rather than lack of regulation.

Coming back to John Power's article: and the key paragraph "It would be wrong to wait until there is some awful incident, be it in the construction sector, at a power station or in a chemical plant, for this anomaly to be rectified." Well it has happened, a number of times, and much modern legislation and many standards can be traced back to such accidents - IEC 61508 would apply in Ireland as much as in the UK. But I don't know if Ireland has an equivalent to HASAWA?

Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert

Edited: 20 May 2010 at 11:14 PM by amillar
 22 May 2010 08:10 AM
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The article is saying that engineers should be registered to carry out their profession. There is plenty of regulation about how the work should be done but there does seem to be a problem (in my experience) about who is doing it.

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