@ Daniyal_Ali, you pointed out very well that it is the job of the organizations as well to ensure that their engineers are well trained in every aspect of safe measures. Knowledge of safety standards and advancements in safety mechanisms can go a long way in helping engineers avoid errors during designing.
This is a good reminder, Steward. But do realize that there are two types of electrical engineers.
The licensed Professional Engineer is made abundantly aware of the legal aspects of his/her work; a PE is all about public safety since most of a PE's work is in plain sight and usually accessible to lots of people. If a building burns down because of a small matter like wiring that was sized too small, the PE who did the design work is the first one on the firing line. We're reminded of the legal impact of our work every time we stamp one of our designs; our very livelihood is on the line every time.
However, most engineers are not PEs. It's not obvious that they put their future on the line every time they approve a design. It takes a sobering development like that which some engineers at GM (who approved their substandard ignition switches) are experiencing right now. Non-licensed engineers need to be reminded of this frequently, preferrably *before* tragedy happens. I could wish those reminders were obvious every time an engineer approves any design. Thanks for this one reminder; may it propagate into many more!
Of course we need to forsee all of the unforseeable ways in which the things we design could be misused. That is quite a concept. I am attempting to imagine what sort of training would assist a designer in that area.
Of course there are a lot of common ways that people misuse things, which is why we have all kinds of appliances with closures intended to prevent the item from ever being opened to effect a repair. Also, we have instruction manuals that begin with five pages of universal safety warnings and precautions. Designers should definitely consider the ways that a product could be used, including alternative uses which may be reasonable. It is often quite valuable to get input from somebody not familiar with the product about what they see.
The truly terrible thing is the ways that juries have been giving out large rewards for incredible acts of stupidity. The nation, and all designers, would be very well served if those jurors were forced to make public their reasons for choosing to reward the actions that caused the injuries. Really, thatought to be a mandatory requirement to be done before any award is actually paid. And if the jurrors are unable to explain to the public why the award is proper, then the assumption should be that it is not, and the decision revisited. But that will probably never happen.
This is a very informative and useful post. It brings forth something about electrical engineering design which is seldom considered by professionals. Engineers are definitely not expected to think like lawyers but they are certainly expected to put themselves in place of users. What may seem absolutely safe to an engineer may not be so for a common user who has no knowledge about precautions needed to use that thing.
Well said Steward. The engineers are meant to design the system keeping in mind the worst possible scenarios that could occur in the system. A minute mistake from a design engineer can lead to devastating results for the consumers. To prevent these equipment as well as human losses, engineers should be given proper training in every firm. They should be reminded persistently about the safety risks and upcoming safety measures around the globe, so that they are always on their toes when it comes to safety.
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