Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: forensic consultant

  1. 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. (more…)

  2. The Collision Reconstruction Matrix – The Human

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    Murder, suicide, deceit, and intrigue… car crashes? You bet! In our next installment of the 9-Cell Collision Matrix let us dive a little deeper into the glue that binds all this together, the human element.

    Photo by Mark Turner

    Let’s begin with the most basic human element at the root cause of car wrecks, our old friend inattention. Inattention… a vast word that encompasses many lackadaisical conditions. The daydreaming 16-year-old in math class, the radio knob turner, the back seat talker, the quarter pounder with cheese eater, and perhaps the most offensive, the cell phone user. All very dangerous behind the wheel, and one very dangerous to your future… as it turns out, you will always need good math skills… ask me how I know? Driving is of course a divided attention endeavor, (more…)

  3. 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, (more…)

  4. 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 (more…)

  5. 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. (more…)

  6. The Vehicle (EDR)

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    In a previous blog post, we began to delve a little deeper into the vehicle aspect of the 9-Cell Collision Matrix by taking a look at tires. Let’s now take a closer look at the very diverse and interesting topic of Event Data Recorder (EDR) data. (more…)

  7. Improperly Used Space Heaters Can Be Dangerous

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    As the temperature outside slides from the cold to the “bitter” cold range on the thermometer, most people tend to turn the heat on inside their home. Some homes, however, do not have whole house heat or sufficient heating capacity and therefore the occupants  may rely on portable space heaters. Portable space heaters, used properly, can be a good choice to warm a small area of a home. Unfortunately, while they can warm your cold and tingling hands and feet, they can also warm nearby materials to the point of ignition. (more…)

  8. If There is a Human, There are Human Factors

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    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: (more…)

  9. 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. (more…)

  10. 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! (more…)

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