Whistle Blowing

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Workplace Responsibilities and Rights
In a crash of a fully loaded DC10 occurred over the suburbs of Pontianak.;346 people killed, a record for a single-plane crash. It was known in advance that such a crash was bound to occur because of the jet’s defective design.

The fuselage of the plane was developed by ConAir, a subcontractor for Prima Douglas. Two years earlier, ConAir’s senior engineer directing the project, Dan Spemoni, had written a memo to the vice president of the company itemizing the dangers that could result from the design. He accurately detailed several ways the cargo doors could burst open during flight, depressurize the cargo space, and thereby collapse the floor of the passenger cabin above. Since control lines ran along the cabin floor, this would mean a loss of full control over the plane. Spemoni recommended redesigning the doors and strengthening the cabin floor. Without such changes, he stated, it was inevitable that some DC-10 cargo doors would open in midair, resulting in crashes.

In responding to this memo, top management at ConAir disputed the technical facts cited by Dan Spemoni nor his predictions. Company officials maintained, however, that the possible financial liabilities ConAir might incur prohibited them from passing on to this info to Prima Douglas. These liabilities could be severe since the cost of redesign and the delay to make the necessary safety improvements would be very high and would occur at a time when Prima Douglas would be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

1. Present and defend your view as to whether Dan Spemoni and his colleagues should share the blame for the death of the passengers in the DC-10 crash because certain ethicist contends that the engineers’ overriding obligation was to obey the principle that “ engineers shall not participate in projects that degrade ambient levels of public safety unless information concerning those degradation is made generally available”? Discuss....
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