A report on Material Science and Engineering managing ethical, social and political pressures

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The terror regarding the issue of falling bridge in Florida raises the question of finding the actual reasons behind the collapsing. People are now starting to realize that life is not safe at anywhere, as the newly installed portion of the bridge collapsed in the incident. This makes people realize that not only the technology or engineering department alone is responsible for this type of incidents.  Poor management, ethical, social and political pressures may have their contribution to this accident. In order to gives light in findings the real factors and volume of their contribution towards the incident, a brief discussion given below. 

Background   of the case study

The bridge that connects Florida University with the city of Sweetwater made to develop the pedestrian along with commuter protection. This bridge collapsed along with 6 dead and 9 injured persons. Several losses of vehicles, trouble in daily transportation cause due to this accident. Moreover, there are numerous students from Florida University, especially those having their houses in Sweetwater, loss their major way of transportation (Viglucci & Nehamas, 2018). This incident has created large safety harassment in common people. Few days before the accident a newly finished portion of 950 ton has installed and just before two days cracks at the newly installed portion discovered. This needed the immediate action but the concerned authority ignored the importance of repairing. On March 2018 a portion of the bridge sagged before collapsing then the whole span dropped on the road under it and crushed moving vehicles. 


Technical   issues 


The major reason behind the collapsing can be the negligence of the contractors and engineers. The installation process of 174 foot of the bridge was in just a few hours with minimal traffic harassment, which was innovative as well as quite risky. People are asking questions on the installation process. As evidence from reports, the bridge was design in a way to give it a dramatic wire-stayed look (theguardian.com, 2018). This also revealed that there were no support beams at the period of stress checking and the process was a wrong one. As per Caprani (2018),  in this type of structure, the deck suspends from wires that slagged from a mast, resulting in a very irregular arrangement that might not be a proper conventional truss design. Moreover, the anchor of the bridge failed to hold the weight and because of that consequently, forces are placed on them at the time of lifting the newly installed span over its support piers. The diagonal support of the bridge’s north part got overloaded and put excess stress on the internal support structure. In the consequence, because of the error in structural designs the 950-ton span dropped on the roadway.    

Management   aspects of the case study

The Florida International university bridge was a major way of transportation for a numerous number of people, thus it needed proper time-to-time maintenance. As per Regalbuto (2016), network Engineering Services Inc. Munilla Construction Management or MCM and other three are also in charge of maintaining the bridge along with the installation process of its new span. Their employees failed in taking immediate actions and providing protections required at the time of bridge collapsing. In words of Percival et al. (2017), two days before the accident cracks were discover on the new span but because of their negligence and miscommunication, the importance of repairing was underestimated. Moreover, the installation process was not that much conventional and reliable as it takes very little time to complete to an important span installation process.   

Safety issues 

The bridge was quite important from the safety point as a large number of people used it for their daily travel. 6 people have died and 9 were seriously injured in the accident. Govt. took immediate steps to rescue the injured people and the vehicles that buried under the bridge. Injured persons were take to local hospitals and were admitted in the emergency section. As opined by Lowe et al. (2017), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) along with Florida Highway Patrol handle the matter of reopening another bridge to solve the inconvenience that other people were facing in their journey due to the accident and clearing the crowd. The National Transportation Safety Board started investigating the reasons behind it to eradicate the terror of this incident from common people.   

  Ethical   aspects relating to the case

The involved companies those having the charge of maintaining the bridge were punish to pay fines for their negligence in work. OSHA cited those companies to give a penalty amount of $86,658 for violating the safety rules of their workers along with common people. Though the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the matter Florida, law can shield those responsible companies against the charges of criminal laws. In words of Bolman & Deal (2017), various laws for the sake of common people are ongoing. There remains the question of ethics of the lead engineer who had recognised the crack on the newly installed span. Employees need to be more careful in handling this type of public services. As stated by Zhou et al. (2016), employee-training programs need to focus more on ethical studies. In order to understand the root causes behind the accident, the companies have given few days notices to agree upon their citations in a conference arranged with OSHA.  


Impacts of the collapsing

The Florida Bridge built by using the accelerated form of technology, a very advanced technique. However, this approach had proven failed as six people were died along with 9 injured. As mentioned by Root et al. (2017), this type of failures invokes huge fear and raises the question of reliability and safety, as these cases are very rare. 


The case discussed above is an example of the harsh reality of uncertainty. The advanced bridge technology used in the Florida Bridge secures its longevity of 100 years and withstand in any kind of category 5 hurricane. A huge number of bridges in Florida have been built by using this fast-track technology, but beyond everyone's expectation, the accident took place in a busy day with a heavy loss. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated in this regard and OSHA charged a penalty for the responsible companies, having the charge of the bridge. Florida government took immediate actions to rescue the survivals and to control the situation.

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