Global professional chemical engineering and biochemical membership body the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) rules of professional conduct and disciplinary regulations has undergone a revision process that obliges chemical engineers to ‘whistle-blow’ in circumstances where they feel that the public interest is being compromised.
Described as a duty to raise concerns about the dangers and risks of malpractice or wrongdoing that affect the chemicals industry, blowing the whistle reinforces IChemE’s commitment to adhere to the highest standards of professional practice.
The revision promotes and supports a collaborative approach to safe and sustainable working in the chemicals and process industries. On becoming aware of any danger, risk or malpractice within an organisation, chemical engineers who form part of the institute are encouraged to offer full support to colleagues involved in reporting and escalating their concerns to senior management.
“This collaborative approach addresses fears that whistle-blowers might be ostracised by their employer or fellow employees,” notes IChemE.
The revised rules of professional conduct and disciplinary regulations have been welcomed by process safety leaders. IChemE past president and health and safety execu- tive chairperson Dame Judith Hackitt said in January this year: “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.”
Meanwhile IChemE director Andy Furlong highlights that confidence in professional chemical engineers, and in the profession itself, is brought about by practices that maintain high standards of technical and ethical competence, adding that 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,” adds Furlong.
As an institute, IChemE has over 44 000 members in over 120 countries, and is the only organisation that awards Charted Chemical Engineer and Professional Process Safety Engineering qualifications, which are internationally recognised.
IChemE builds and sustains an active international professional community, united by a commitment to qualifications and standards that foster excellence.
It also sustains the delivery of benefits to society and engages with other stakeholders in the chemicals sphere to promote develop- ment and understanding of chemical engineering and an appreciation of its importance.
IChemE has different grades of membership, each providing professional support, as well as a range of services on the various levels of the chemicals, biochemicals and process professions
IChemE is accredited by Royal Charter to provide Chartered Chemical Engineer and Professional Process Safety Engineer courses for the three membership grades which comprise ‘chartered’ membership – for profes- sionals who are internationally recognised and have attained a respected mark of competence and show commitment to the chemical engin- eering profession; ‘associate’ membership – for professionals with a proven level of knowledge and understanding of chemical engineering to honours level or a higher degree; and ‘affiliate’ membership – for professionals employed in the process industries, namely energy, chemicals, contracting, pharmaceuticals, food and water.
Other membership grades include technician members and postgraduate members.