The Aberdeen Three: Improper Storage
Issues that were present at this plant through the investigation were known to be hazardous and harmful chemicals left in the open, materials that if mixed became lethal were stored in the same vicinity, and drums of harmful materials were leaking and corroding. Also, at one point the roof of the building storing the harmful materials collapsed, resulting in toxic drums being smashed where no precautions or cleaning took place. The Aberdeen three were indicted on criminal charges on June 28th, 1988.
Their criminal charges included “storing, treating, and disposing of hazardous wastes in violation of RCA at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland” (CE 480, Spring 2014).
Ethical Questions 1 . What could the three engineers have done differently? 2. What, if anything, could their subordinates have done differently? 3. How could the superiors have managed the situation better? 4. Outdo think the Judge’s sentencing of the “Aberdeen Three” was too lenient or too harsh? Why? Discussion The actions of these three engineers directly affected the health and safety of the public which directly ignores the fundamental canons in section 11. Of the NSP code of ethics (NSP, 2007).
There are many safety measures and precautions that could eave been taken to result in a much different situation. The case study notes that the cost of cleanup of these materials would not have come out of the engineers’ budget for chemical weapons producing (CE 480, Spring 2014). Since there was no budget issue at hand, this shows that the engineers purely did not give any regard to the material they were disposing of as if it was not their concern.
Again, by not “acknowledging their errors” these three engineers violated section 111. 1 .
A of the code of ethics for engineers given by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSP, 007). At any point the engineers could have written a report to their superiors of the hazards known to be caused from these materials. This report should have Included things such as proper a waste management plan, specific training of employees handling the materials and noted things wrong with the current waste management plan.
If a report of this type was ever submitted, some of the liability of these materials would have been moved onto the superiors of “The Aberdeen Three”. I believe the subordinates did not truly understand how harmful these chemicals actually were. However, it would help to understand how much knowledge the subordinates of The Aberdeen Three had about the chemicals at hand, The fact that an employee was ten one responsible Tort ten press Telling out auto tens Issue indicates that there were at least a few current workers that knew of the risk.
Another piece of information that would help when trying to evaluate the ethical questions is the extent that this employee went to before going to the press about the issue. It seems very unlikely that this employee would not have gone to the superiors about he issue before the media. Since this information is not explained in the report, it is possible that the army command did not understand the severity of this issue. However these superiors should know about all materials, to a certain extent, that are on their base.
With that, the army command should have paid closer attention to the materials on their base, especially after the collapse of a storage facility. When it comes to the three engineers, I believe the sentencing was too lenient.
Dealing with public safety is a huge issue and the lowering from 15 years in prison to 3 years arbitration seems to be a drastic change. This lowering of punishment is especially surprising after viewing the circumstances with the engineers knowing the potential public health concerns and their blatant disregard for the NSP code of ethics.
I believe the Justice department should have divided the punishment based on responsibility of the engineers. Additional Information It would have been helpful to know if the superiors knew of the leaking hazardous waste. How the employee knew that this hazardous waste was dangerous if the superiors did not know about it would also have been helpful.
Also, it would have been beneficial to know how much the subordinates of the three engineers knew about chemicals at hand.