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Message obscuredI was very interested in the article "Accidents in Waiting" by B. Stimpson, P.Eng. (May 1999), particularly because I read the book Normal Accidents by Charles Perrow many years ago.On...

August 1, 1999   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Message obscured

I was very interested in the article “Accidents in Waiting” by B. Stimpson, P.Eng. (May 1999), particularly because I read the book Normal Accidents by Charles Perrow many years ago.

One common cause of accidents or other human failures is to obscure the main objective by other stuff. The main objective of such an article is to get the message across clearly. Unfortunately black print on a blue background is not very readable — even illegible in parts — and very distracting from the main message.

Neil Craik, P. Eng. (retired)

Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Jumping Through Hoops

In “Jumping Through Hoops” [by Bronwen Ledger], I see pages filled with the arguments I find equally in PEO’s Engineering Dimensions (and probably other provincial publications). I hear the rhetoric, but nobody seems to address questions which are obvious.

It is stressed that the primary function of the associations is to protect the public. Let’s accept this claim.

Whenever public interest has been violated, this leads to a discipline hearing, as regularly reported in Engineering Dimensions. But when you study the issues of the last 10 years you will only find cases which deal with structural matters, i.e. civil and structural engineering. What percentage of all engineers falls into this category? And if only this segment of engineers appears to cause trouble with respect to the public’s perception of engineering competence, why then must a bureaucracy be created which covers all engineers?

If only structural engineers are the cause of the trouble, the approach to “fix the problem” should be targeted at this sector. If, on the other hand, problems in areas other than those go unreported, it would behoove the associations to first solve this gap in their activity before applying remedial actions.

Dieter S. Leidel, P.Eng.

Barrie, Ont.

Surveyors also jump

Re: “Jumping Through Hoops.” The same debate on continuing education and professional development is active amongst Canada’s professional surveyors.

The Association of Canada Lands Surveyors became Canada’s newest self-governing profession with the federal enactment of the Canada Lands Surveyors Act on March 18. Our members recently approved a mandatory continuing professional development program that will commence on January 1, 2000. It is patterned on the program used by the professional engineers in Alberta and requires a minimum of 30 hours per year toward continuing education.

The one difference we have from other professionals is size. As relatively small professional bodies, we are usually able to decide on and set our course more quickly than some of our counterparts, but our downside is always cost.

Jim Statham, C.L.S., O.L.S.

President, Association of Canada Lands Surveyors, Ottawa

Canadian Consulting Engineer welcomes letters from readers but reserves the right to edit them for publication.


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