Forensic Engineers and Consultants

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If There is a Human, There are Human Factors

If there is a human involved in the case, there is a good chance that human factors theories and principles will be applicable. Human factors is the study of people interacting with their surrounding environment. A human factors expert applies their knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to each unique case to assess the physical, sensory, and cognitive factors that caused a person to behave a certain way within the surrounding environment.

Consider the following situations in which a human factors expert would be beneficial: Read More

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Scared of Water, or Prefer to Get Drenched? Fire Suppression with Preaction and Deluge Systems

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In my two previous blogs, we first discussed wet sprinkler systems (Wet), the most basic and most common fire system type followed by dry sprinkler systems (Dry), which are a bit more complicated.  Ratcheting up another level, in this last edition on sprinkler systems, let’s take a look together at preaction and deluge systems.  These can be complex and variable, so we’ll operate at the 30,000 ft level. Read More

The Vehicle – Tires

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In a previous blog post, I gave an overall introduction to the 9-Cell Collision Matrix as an investigative tool used in collision reconstruction. Now let’s focus in a little at each element.

They are called car wrecks, after all…so let’s start with a more comprehensive look at the vehicle component of the matrix.  This review of the vehicle before, during, and after the collision will highlight a few important factors but is not meant to be all-inclusive.  So, let’s get started! Read More

Everybody Has A Part to Play – What’s Your Role?

Across industry and construction sites, there are times when employees of different employers are working side by side, or at least on the same site at the same time.  Some industry examples are when chemical plants have contractors on-site for routine maintenance or during process shutdowns for major overhauls or repairs. OSHA refers to these as multi-employer worksites.  In December of 1999, they revised their citation policy which allows for more than one employer at a worksite to be cited for conditions that violate OSHA standards. Read More

When a DRY Fire Sprinkler System Leaves You Soaked

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In my previous blog , I discussed the most basic and most common fire system type: wet sprinkler systems. The possible failure areas discussed with wet systems will also apply to dry sprinkler systems (control valves closed, obstructions, issues in the system, installation, or deficiencies with inspection, testing, and maintenance). Dry systems are even more prone to obstructions than wet systems, so close attention should be paid to that possibility. Read More

WARREN Welcomes Human Factors Consultant Ellen Szubski, Ph.D.

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Please join us in welcoming Human Factors Expert Ellen Szubski, Ph.D, to the WARREN family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen’s Areas of Expertise Include:

  • Human Factors & Safety
  • Illumination Evaluation
  • OSHA Regulations
  • Premises Liability
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Workplace injuries
  • Vehicle/Pedestrian/Bicycle Crash Investigation

Ellen Szubski is a human factors consultant with Warren. Her expertise focuses on the crash investigations and other personal injury matters. These matters often include collisions and/or crashes involving vulnerable road users and drivers, driver distraction, and slips, trips. & falls. She utilizers her knowledge of OSHA regulations, codes and standards in her analysis of premises liability incident and safety consulting.

Ellen graduated from Clemson University with a Master of Science in Applied Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Factors Psychology. She did her dissertation on “The Influence of Pedestrian Biological Motion on Time-To-Collision Estimates at Night.”  Ellen is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society (HFES) and its Forensic Professional Technical Group.  She has presented multiple times at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual meetings.

HEY…Cover Up Please!

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Machine guards can be compared to the clothes we wear every day.  Indeed, they serve a very important purpose.  Imagine someone leaving their home on a fine, sunny morning wearing nothing but a smile.  Wonder how far they will get through the day before things start going poorly for this individual?

 

 

 

 

 

There will be more than a few raised eyebrows and blushes when he stops into the local Starbucks for his usual morning double-dipped and whipped, chocolaty chip with a touch of pumpkin spice cappuccino fix.  Good luck with that!  Probably going to leave disappointed, empty-handed, and likely wearing handcuffs.  This will be the beginning of a very long, very bad day for that individual.  Had he recognized the risks associated with this type of behavior, and then put forth a little effort to cover up, he would have prevented many unfavorable and possibly life-changing personal and legal problems from ever occurring!

And so it is with properly guarding a machine.  Machine safeguarding helps to protect workers from preventable injuries. Read More

One Small Step…

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Ladders…not a particularly exciting topic I’ll admit.  But hey, we need ladders to help us accomplish all kinds of tasks.  Most people have used at least one of the many types of ladders that are available today.  And the odds are probably pretty good that many of those users strayed outside the limits of safety a time or two while on a ladder.  It is amazing the risks some people will take to save some time or avoid the inconvenience of getting down to move the ladder into a safer position.  I wonder how many of those risks would be taken on a ladder if the users knew they were on camera.

Think about astronaut Neil Armstrong.  He travelled by rocket almost 239,000 miles through space and Read More

Financial Injury.…From a Machine?!?!

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Forensic engineers may be called upon to investigate a broad array of problems concerning a machine.  Cases involving physical injuries and even death are a large part of what we investigate in order to determine what caused the accident to happen and who may be at fault.  Occasionally, problems with a recently designed custom machine do not cause a physical injury, but instead cause a “financial” injury.  This type of “injury” can negatively impact the machine designer, the machine purchaser, or possibly both.  Financial injuries can be quite substantial, just as physical injuries can be, and may severely impact a company’s cash flow which can make or break a company.  A refusal to pay a designer/builder of a machine or paying for a machine that ends up not meeting the agreed upon performance specifications can have catastrophic consequences for many businesses, especially for small ones. Read More

The Collision Reconstruction Matrix

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It’s mid-January, the high today is 28 degrees with lows in the teens as the Carolinas are in the grip of a Canadian cold front and I’m on call tonight. The phone rings at 3:00 am; yes Sir, three cars with two fatalities, I-85 northbound, yes Sir, on the way. Despite the hurdles that lie in front of me cold, fatigue, the loss of life – my job with the South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is to investigate, document, and ultimately prosecute chargeable collisions. To properly reconstruct this collision, three essential and distinct categories must be investigated and documented in order to provide a well-founded explanation of the series of events prior to, during, and after the collision regarding the human, the vehicle, and the environment; this investigative technique is known as the 9-cell collision reconstruction matrix. Read More

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