With extensive formal training in ethics our founder has been following for over 20 years, GERM is an ethically run company going beyond normal ethical standards in areas.
In addition, as board certified and/or State licensed professionals, we are bound by various legal and/or professional standard ethics (by examination and routine recertification) governing boards (AIHA / ASSE / BCSP / ACGIH / ABIH, ACAC, et al). For example (just one - we are accountable to several boards), the following minimum ethical standards are required and enforced by the ABIH (American Board of Industrial Hygiene), for all Certified Industrial Hygienists:
I . Responsibilities to clients, employers, employees and the public.
A. Education, experience, competency and performance of professional services.
1. Deliver competent services with objective and independent professional judgment in decision- making.
2. Recognize the limitations of one’s professional ability and provide services only when qualified. The certificant/candidate is responsible for determining the limits of his/her own professional abilities based on education, knowledge, skills, practice experience and other relevant considerations.
3. Make a reasonable effort to provide appropriate professional referrals when unable to provide competent professional assistance.
4. Maintain and respect the confidentiality of sensitive information obtained in the course of professional activities unless: the information is reasonably understood to pertain to unlawful activity; a court or governmental agency lawfully directs the release of the information; the client or the employer expressly authorizes the release of specific information; or, the failure to release such information would likely result in death or serious physical harm to employees and/or the public.
5. Properly use professional credentials, and provide truthful and accurate representations concerning education, experience, competency and the performance of services.
6. Provide truthful and accurate representations to the public in advertising, public statements or representations, and in the preparation of estimates concerning costs, services and expected results.
7. Recognize and respect the intellectual property rights of others and act in an accurate, truthful and complete manner, including activities related to professional work and research.
8. Affix or authorize the use of one’s ABIH seal, stamp or signature only when the document is prepared by the certificant/candidate or someone under his/her direction and control.
B. Conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety.
1. Disclose to clients or employers significant circumstances that could be construed as a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety.
2. Avoid conduct that could cause a conflict of interest with a client, employer, employee or the public.
3. Assure that a conflict of interest does not compromise legitimate interests of a client, employer, employee or the public and does not influence or interfere with professional judgments.
4. Refrain from offering or accepting significant payments, gifts or other forms of compensation or benefits in order to secure work or that are intended to influence professional judgment.
C. Public health and safety.
1. Follow appropriate health and safety procedures, in the course of performing professional duties, to protect clients, employers, employees and the public from conditions where injury and damage are reasonably foreseeable.
II. Responsibility to ABIH, the profession and the public
A. Certificant and candidate compliance with all organizational rules, policies and legal requirements.
1. Comply with laws, regulations, policies and ethical standards governing professional practice of industrial hygiene and related activities.
2. Provide accurate and truthful representations concerning all certification and recertification information.
3. Maintain the security of ABIH examination information and materials, including the prevention of unauthorized disclosures of test information.
4. Cooperate with ABIH concerning ethics matters and the collection of information related to an ethics matter.
5. Report apparent violations of the ethics code by certificants and candidates upon a reasonable and clear factual basis.
6. Refrain from public behavior that is clearly in violation of professional, ethical or legal standards.
An article from the website of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (http://www.bcsp.org/pdf/PresentationsArticles/714_1.pdf)
Dr. Peter Strahlendorf
School of Occupational and Public Health
Professional ethics has become more important over the years. As we become more specialized in our occupation, the issues become that much more complex – and hard. Professional bodies have increasingly been at work developing, revising and refining professional codes of ethics. Professionals themselves ask for more detailed codes so as to have greater guidance. There is no longer a deference to the authority of experts on the part of the public or of the client group.
The standards for professional conduct keep drifting higher. Where safety and health are at issue, the regulators are under more pressure to act when professional groups do not act. Frankly, it is a sign of maturity, and of professional pride, when a professional group is operating under a code of ethics.
What do we mean by professional ethics? What sorts of issues are likely to come up during the career of an OHS professional? How does one resolve ethical dilemmas? How should one use a professional code of ethics?
Professional ethics helps a professional choose what to do when faced with a problem at work that raises a moral issue. One can certainly study what professionals do when faced with such problems, and confine the enquiry to the description. Our concern here, however, is to assist with making choices – an approach called prescriptive professional ethics.
By an “occupational health and safety (OHS) professional” we mean someone who is engaged in providing OHS services either as an OHS co-ordinator or manager (the range of job titles is enormous) and would include people who serve as consultants or as government regulators. However, such a person would also have to belong to a formal group, as discussed below. A narrow definition of “professional” is a self-regulating occupational group capable of legally prohibiting others from practising. A broader view of a profession, as described by Brincat &
Wilke1, would possess the following elements:
> group identity
> shared education, training (requirements for admission)
> special, uncommon knowledge
> knowledge used in the service of others (positive social need)
> involves individual judgement, some autonomy in decision making
> adherence to certain values
> penalties for substandard performance