Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Category Archive: Safety and Design

Surprise Slip and Slides  

Falls were the number one cause of preventable non-fatal injuries and the number two cause of preventable deaths in the US in 2019 (CDC and NEISS data). Slip and falls occur when there is an unexpected loss of traction between a person’s foot and the walking surface.  Slip and falls are common and can occur in any setting where people walk, including homes, workplaces, and public areas. Slip and falls can result in serious injuries, particularly for older adults.

The human gait cycle consists of four phases: Read More

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Differences in Slip Resistance of Materials used in Walking Surfaces

As an experienced safety consultant, I’m called on to investigate a wide range of premises liability incidents. In any slip and fall investigation it is important to assess the type of walking surface material involved and its corresponding slip resistance.

Slip resistance is a critical factor to consider when choosing the right flooring material for any space. It’s especially important in areas that are prone to moisture, spills, or other hazards that could make floors slippery and dangerous. A slip-resistant surface can help reduce the risk of Read More

The Importance of Crane Wire Rope Lubrication

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Wire ropes are critical components of cranes and play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of crane operations. To extend the life of these ropes and maintain their strength and performance, it is essential to regularly lubricate them. Read More

The Difficult Task of Avoiding Pedestrians While Driving at Night

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An alarming 6,516 pedestrians were killed, and 54,769 pedestrians were injured as a result of traffic crashes in 2020 (NHTSA, 2022). A large majority (77%) of these pedestrian fatalities occurred in low luminance conditions such as nighttime while only 20% occurred in daylight (NHTSA, 2022). This dramatic difference between pedestrian fatalities during the night and day is seen even when controlling for driver fatigue and alcohol consumption (Owens & Sivak, 1996). This phenomenon prompts the question as what is so dangerous about being a pedestrian at night? Read More

Treating Painted Walking Surfaces for Improved Slip Resistance

As an experienced safety consultant, I am called on to investigate a wide range of premises liability incidents. One common premises liability incident that often results in serious injury is a fall on a painted walking surface.

Slip and fall accidents can be devastating, causing serious injuries and even death. To prevent these accidents, it is important to ensure that walking surfaces, including painted ones, are slip-resistant. In this article, we will discuss the various methods for treating painted walking surfaces to make them slip-resistant. Read More

Slippery Painted Exterior Walking Surfaces

As an experienced safety consultant, I’m called on to investigate a wide range of premises liability incidents. One common premises liability incident that often results in serious injury is a fall on an improperly painted or maintained walking surface.

Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence and can lead to serious injuries and even death. Painted surfaces are one of the most Read More

The Big Difference Between Conspicuity and Visibility

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Visibility aids, such as lighting, reflectors, and fluorescent material, are marketed to vulnerable road users (VRUs) like pedestrians and bicyclists as a way to enhance their safety on the road. These visibility aids increase the VRU’s contrast within the roadway environment therefore increasing their visibility. However, increasing visibility does not necessarily mean enhancing conspicuity. For example, the key difference between a visible pedestrian and a conspicuous pedestrian is that a visible pedestrian is distinguishable from their background whereas a conspicuous pedestrian “grabs” the driver’s visual attention. Read More

The Best Use of Visibility Aids – Contrast

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There are various visibility aids marketed for vulnerable road users (VRUs). Here, the term VRU is used to describe unprotected road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Visibility aids are designed to increase a VRU’s contrast within their environment, making them more distinguishable from the background to a driver. These visibility aids can include both active and passive ways to increase the VRU’s contrast, therefore their visibility. As the name implies, active visibility aids actively transmit light and are powered by a source (i.e., battery powered bicycle headlights and taillights) while passive visibility aids passively reflect light coming from outside sources (i.e., fluorescent, and retroreflective clothing).

There are a wide variety of active visibility aids to choose from on the market. For example, Read More

The FORKLIFT 500 – A Need for Speed

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From a young age, many children are typically drawn to things that are fast.  Fast toys, fast race cars, sports that require speed.  Is it possible that “feeding” this desire tends to make many of us resist, whether consciously or subconsciously, the request or demand to “Slow down!” once we’ve grown up, even when we know that it is the right and wise thing to do?  Now couple this with the natural tendency of most businesses to push for more productivity by doing things faster and more efficiently.  This can be dangerous when we take this combination into a workplace where forklifts are a necessary and integral part of the day-to-day operations.

Race cars are designed to go fast, and they rely on a properly trained and experienced driver to complete a race successfully and safely.  Forklifts are designed to lift and transport heavy loads, and they also rely on a properly trained and experienced driver to Read More

Danger Within Reach

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How far away from a hazard should you stay?  Your parents or grandparents would probably have told you to stay far away, but what are you to do when a hazard is present, and you must work around or near the hazard?  And what exactly is a hazard?  ISO 12100 Safety of machinery – General principles for design – Risk assessment and risk reduction defines a hazard as a “potential source of harm.

Where would a designer of a machine or product start if they wished to protect the user from a known hazard?  Consensus standards are a great place to begin the quest for safety. Read More

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