Email: enquiry@ergonomics.org.hk

 


 
   
   

INTRODUCTION

The Hong Kong Ergonomics Society (hereinafter referred to as "the Society") is Hong Kong's principal professional body for advancing the science of ergonomics in Hong Kong by promoting application, research and education in ergonomics for the benefit of the public.

The Code of Professional Conduct (hereinafter referred to as the "Code") has been prepared by the Council of the Society under Articles 5.5 of the Constitution of the Society. It applies to all grades of membership and to all aspects of the performance of their professional functions. It applies equally to those who perform ergonomics duties as employees and to those who have particular roles and responsibilities as advisers, consultants, researchers, employers and providers of education or training.

The Code establishes a code of ethical practice; contains guidance on a range of issues concerning moral and ethical matters as they affect ergonomics practitioners; and describes the requirements for "professional conduct". It's requirements and supporting guidance demonstrate the Society's commitment to upholding and enhancing the good standing of the profession.

This Code is freely available to all interested parties.

As stated in Article 5.5 in the Constitution: "All members of the Society shall abide by the Code of Professional Conduct adopted by the Society at a General Meeting from time to time."


CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

Recent development in social, legal, scientific and technological issues have led to some complex technical and ethical problems. This in turn has placed increasing demands on ergonomics professionals to address and resolve a wide range of questions arising from the application and impact of these issues in their practice. This Code provides a basis for sound professional conduct and the guidance accompanying some of the key points in the Code offers further interpretation.

CODE POINTS
GUIDANCE ON CODE POINTS
1. Members of the Society, wherever employed, owe a primary loyalty to the work people and the community they serve and the environment they affect. Their practice shall be performed according to the highest standards and ethical principles, maintaining respect for human dignity. Ergonomics practitioners shall seek to ensure professional independence in the execution of their functions. 1. The term professional independence relates to the function of ergonomics practitioners within the organization in which they practice. They may have either an advisory or an executive role. In addition, they may have other responsibilities not related to ergonomics. As a professional, they shall accomplish their ergonomics function according to their independent professional judgement.
2. Members must abide by the legal requirements relating to their practice. 2. Ergonomics practitioners need to make themselves aware of and comply with the appropriate legal requirements of the country/place in which they practice.
3. Members called on to give an opinion in their professional capacity shall be honest and, to the best of their ability, objective and reliable. 3. An objective and reliable opinion is one based on the best currently available knowledge and data or, in the absence of such data, reference to appropriate ergonomics principles.
4. Members shall take all reasonable steps to obtain, maintain and develop their professional competence by attention to new developments in ergonomics and shall encourage others working under their supervision to do so. 4. Competence is defined as "the possession of sufficient knowledge, experience and skill to enable the person to know what he or she is doing and to be able to carry out a task in the way in which a person competent in the activity would expect it to be done and to have an appreciation of one's own limitations". Professional competence goes beyond this and is gained by a combination of qualifications and practical experience, at an appropriate level sometimes supplemented by membership of specialist bodies. It is maintained by attention to new development in ergonomics.
5. Members shall not undertake responsibilities as ergonomics practitioners that they do not believe themselves competent to discharge. Members shall acknowledge any limitations in their own competence. 1 123
6. Members shall accept professional responsibility for all their work and shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that persons working under their authority or supervision are competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them; are treated with fairness and equal opportunity, and accept responsibility for work done under the authority delegated by them. 1 123
7. Members having good reason to believe that their professional advice is not followed shall take reasonable steps to ensure that persons overruling or neglecting their advice are made aware of potential adverse consequences that may result. These steps may be taken in writing. 7. Reasonable steps relating to professional advice will vary according to situation. For example, an employed member may operate through established procedures such as the management chain or ergonomics committee. In extreme cases advice may be sought from the Society or other organizations (e.g., an enforcing authority) that may be of help. Members shall take into account any relevant legislation relating to the protection and public disclosure of restricted or confidential information.
8. Members shall have regard to the reputation and good standing of the Society, other members, and professional practice and standards, and shall not knowingly bring them into disrepute. 8. Disrepute amounts to the loss of a previously good reputation. It may arise when the conduct of a member by act or omission lowers the professional reputation of the Society and its members.
9. Members shall not in the course of their duties recklessly or maliciously injure, or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of others. 1 123
10. Members shall not improperly use their membership of the Society for commercial or personal gain. 1 123
11. Members shall seek to avoid their professional judgment being influenced by any conflict of interest and shall inform their employer, or client, of any conflict between the member's personal interest and service to the relevant party. 11. Conflict of interest refers in this Code to occasions where the overuse of professional judgement leads to problems in obtaining future or continuing employment or contracts. Simple examples of this type of conflict are where an ergonomics practitioner recognizes a dangerous procedure but does not recommend a shutdown in case it ultimately leads to the demise of the company and the practitioner is made redundant. Another example is a situation in which an ergonomics practitioner might be invited to be the adviser to both parties in a contract without the express consent of the client(s) concerned.
12. Member shall not improperly disclose any information that may reasonably be considered to be prejudicial to the business of any present or past employer or client. 1 123
13. Members shall ensure that information, necessary to safeguard the ergonomics, safety and health of those persons for whom they have a legal and moral responsibility, is made available as required. 13. It is an ergonomics practitioner's duty to disclose in an appropriate way any information they may have which will influence decisions relating to the ergonomics, safety or health of people. The implications of information technology and data protection requirements will be respected.
14. Members shall maintain financial propriety in all their professional dealings with employers and clients. 14. A member should not accept or encourage any inducements that may be seen as prejudicial to professional independence or in breach of contractual or moral obligations.
15. Members shall aim to maintain high quality work at all times. 15. Quality of work may be assessed by audits, monitoring and quality assurance processes or other appropriate means.


ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE (FOR SPECIFIC GROUPS)

In addition to the Code, members with particular responsibilities should be guided by the following:

CONSULTANTS

Members engaged as consultants shall maintain a confidential relationship with their clients, upholding and enhancing the public perception of the profession. In particular, they should:

->Agree with the client a clear brief, preferably written, for consultant work;
->Agree on working and charging arrangements;
->Agree on the scope and manner of reporting including, where appropriate, any copyright or patent issues arising;
->Not work for more than one client simultaneously on the same case without the express consent of all clients;
->Not solicit improperly for work by making excessive claims or by attacking the reputation of other consultants;
->In the case of expert witness services, confine their evidence to matters on which they can speak with authority from personal knowledge and experience; and
->Protect the "intellectual rights" of the client and client confidentiality, and not disclose information to any third party or medium of communication without the full and explicit written authorization of the client concerned.

When acting in private practice or independently of salaried employment, a consultant has the right to disengage their services in the face of a dilemma involving professional standards or conscience.

EMPLOYERS

->Members, as employers, shall:
->Recognize the rights of professional subordinates to exercise their independence;
->Resolve conflicts via clear, fair procedures;
->Support the professional development of their employees; and
->Demonstrate impartiality and provide equal opportunities for all employees.

RESEARCHERS

Members engaged in research may have specific ethical concerns in the conduct of their work. They should:

->Recognize the nature and limits of their research competence and not propose or undertake any work they are not equipped to carry out;
->Recognize and make known to sponsors any relevant personal prejudices which may influence their work;
->Ensure that any ethical implications identified in their work are recorded in the written plan of the proposed research;
->Where work affects employees or others, ensure safeguards exist against physical, mental, emotional and social harm to subjects;
->Be responsible for obtaining freely given and informed consent from individuals who are the subject of any proposed research; and
->Be aware that personal health information is confidential, requiring permission and consent before research use. This does not apply to anonymised data. Researchers must be aware that the promise of confidentiality and restriction on data use must he made clear to those contracting research and those who may be the subjects of such work.

PROVIDERS OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Trainers should only provide courses that they are competent to teach and, where appropriate, are designed in conjunction with the clients. In design and delivery of courses they should ensure:

->The teaching team has adequate qualification and experience to cover the technical contents of the syllabus;
->There is adequate scope for program planning and review; Courses are delivered in an adequate physical environment for learning with suitable equipment as demanded by the course contents;
->Information sources are available as required by the level of the course; and
->Where an issue may be contentious, a balanced approach to all ideas relating to the issue should be maintained. Personal prejudices should not be presented.


DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

In the event that a member fails to observe the Code of Professional Conduct, he/she may become subject to disciplinary action under the provisions of Articles 5.5 and 5.6 of the Constitution of the Society, which state:

5.5 Code of Professional Conduct

All members of the Society shall abide by the Code of Professional Conduct adopted by the Society at a General Meeting from time to time.

5.6 Termination of Membership

Membership of the Society may be terminated in one of the following ways:

5.6.1 By failure to pay Society subscriptions for a period determined by the Council.

5.6.2 By written withdrawal to the General Secretary.

5.6.3 By the death of an individual member or the dissolution of a Corporate Affiliate.

5.6.4 By bankruptcy or behaviour which, in the opinion of the Council, is not acceptable or tends to bring the Society into disrepute.

PROCEDURES

a. The Council or any committee appointed by the Council may enquire into the conduct of any member of the Society where there is reason to believe that the conduct of such a member is prejudicial to the interests of the Society.

b. Such a person (may be a physical person or body corporate) shall have the right of appearance in person and of speaking on his/her own behalf or of making written representations, and to receive before such enquiry written notification from the Council of the cause of complaint against him/her.

c. The Council being satisfied after such enquiry that the person's conduct has been prejudicial to the interests of the Society, may take such action as it deems necessary.

d. Disciplinary action including expulsion may or may not be advertised to other members at the discretion of the Council.

COMPLAINTS

Any complaints received by the Society, from whatever source, concerning the conduct of a member shall in the first instance be referred to the Council for initial investigation, which is given the power to demand further information. This investigation shall decide whether: íP

->As a result of the complaint or otherwise, the member appears to be liable to disciplinary action;
->There is sufficient evidence to justify a hearing; and
->Disciplinary proceedings should be brought or other action taken.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

If a decision is taken to bring formal disciplinary proceedings, they shall be heard by an independent Disciplinary Committee appointed by the Council. No one in that Committee shall have any personal interest in the case.

The member subject to disciplinary proceedings shall be notified of the complaint made against him/her and the date, time and location of the hearing. The member may attend in person and be given the choice of conducting his/her own case, arranging to be represented, or may elect to make a written representation. The member may call witnesses in his/her defense.

At the hearing, the Society's representative shall be required to establish a case to the standard of proof "beyond reasonable doubt". The Disciplinary Committee Chairman shall exercise discretion in ensuring that adequate examination and cross-examination of witnesses takes place.

DISPOSAL OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

Upon receiving all evidence, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall instruct all persons other than members of the Disciplinary Committee to withdraw from the hearing. The Disciplinary Committee shall consider the evidence and decide whether or not the case has been proven. If there is no case to answer, the member and Council shall be notified of this in writing.

Where, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee, the case has been proven it shall notify the Council and the member in writing. It may also recommend to the Council sanction which in the view of the Committee should be applied against the member.

After the Council has decided on the sanction to be applied, it shall notify the member in writing. Where appropriate, directions to ensure compliance with the sanction shall also be notified to the member at the same time.

APPEAL

Within 28 days of the date of the letter from the Council notifying the member of the findings and the sanction imposed, the member may lodge an appeal in writing against the findings and/or the sanction. The Council (excluding members in the original hearing) shall consider the appeal, decide, exercise its discretion and inform the member of its decision. This decision by the Council shall be deemed final.

ADMINISTRATION

All communications between the member and the Society relating to the enquiry and hearing shall be in writing and posted via "recorded delivery".