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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Whistle blowing strengthens public trust in chemical engineering

19 January, 2016
A recent amendment to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Code of Conduct has made whistle blowing a mandatory duty of chemical engineers that belong to IChemE. This has been implemented to strengthen public trust in the profession, and provide support to engineers who come across illegal practices.

A revision to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Rules of Professional Conduct and Disciplinary Regulations obliges practicing chemical engineers to ‘whistle blow’ in circumstances where they feel that the public interest is being compromised.


Described as a duty to ‘raise a concern about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing which affects others (‘blow the whistle’) and support a colleague to whom the member has a duty of care who in good faith raises any such concern’, the new clause reinforces commitment to the highest standards of professional practice by IChemE. 


The revision promotes and supports a collaborative approach to safe and sustainable working in the chemical and process industries. On becoming aware of any danger, risk or malpractice within an organisation, chemical engineers are obliged to offer full support to colleagues involved in reporting and escalating their concerns to senior management.


This collaborative approach addresses fears that whistleblowers might be ostracized by their employer or fellow employees.


The revised Rules of Professional Conduct and Disciplinary Regulations have been welcomed by process safety leaders. IChemE past president and GB Health and Safety Executive Chair, Dame Judith Hackitt said, “It is vital that all chemical engineers think about how they will uphold the high standards of our profession and who they will speak to if they need to report concerns about unethical or bad practices.”


IChemE director, Andy Furlong, said, “Confidence in professional chemical engineers, and in the profession itself, is brought about by practices that maintain high standards of technical and ethical competence.  These standards are defined and promoted by IChemE.


We have strengthened our code of conduct and this move provides further protection and support for chemical engineers who come across illegal practices. IChemE membership is a signal of trustworthy professionalism and it strengthens public trust in chemical engineering.”


IChemE’s Rules of Professional Conduct can be viewed in full on the IChemE website.

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