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…)
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. (more…)
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
Slips, trips, and falls
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.
Heat exchangers, as the name implies, are used to bring a process stream to a desired temperature. They can heat or cool either gases or liquids. They are fairly intricate in their construction, therefore not the cheapest piece of equipment to purchase. For that reason, facilities don’t keep “spare” exchangers lying around, so when they fail catastrophically, the entire manufacturing process goes down with them… and stays down until they are fixed or replaced. Ow!
The winter season is well underway in the United States, with the Christmas and New Years holidays behind us and the depths of cold weather here for the duration. With winter, many people spend more hours indoors as compared to the summer when outdoor activities ramp up. With more time spent indoors, it is somewhat intuitive that the use of electricity would increase as well.
Electricity is one of the most influential utilities in our daily life. Much of what modern societies rely on to get through a normal day requires electricity. Have you ever been in a slight panic looking for an electric outlet when your cell phone is below 10% charge? Or how many times do we all attempt to turn on a light switch when we enter a room during a known power outage from sheer habit? Even our personal transportation which has relied on gasoline for roughly 100 years is shifting toward electric automobiles. (more…)
When investigating an industrial incident, one piece of information I always ask for is the relevant P&ID’s for the process. P&ID stands for Piping and Instrumentation Diagram and is defined as “A schematic diagram of the relationship between instruments, controllers, piping, and system equipment.” A set of P&ID’s for an entire facility allows you to trace the entire manufacturing process from raw material unloading to finished product loadout, including utilities like steam, water, fuel, and air. That’s great information to have, but isn’t especially useful (more…)
In the three-part series on the CE mark, we scratched the surface of some of the requirements an equipment manufacturer must meet in order to earn this designation. Part three of the series dealt with some of the requirements for the design of a guard. One of the items for consideration with the design of a guard is the frequency that someone will need to access the area protected by the guard. If access is needed on a routine basis, often defined as more than once per shift, the guard needs to be designed to be movable instead of fixed. Movable is defined as able to be opened without the use of tools. Otherwise the frustration and time requirements of obtaining tools and removing a fixed guard will often lead to the guard being discarded. (more…)
The Safety Hierarchy states that hazards should be mitigated first by engineering controls, secondly by guarding, and lastly by warning/training. When the first two, engineering controls and guards, fail in a manufacturing setting, a chemical release could occur. A forensic chemical engineer can help determine the root cause of that failure. (more…)
If there is one thing Americans can agree upon, it is the enjoyment that comes from an outdoor barbeque. Whether a summertime cookout or a fall BBQ to watch a football game, we all love the fun and fellowship that comes from sharing a meal that was prepared outdoors on a grill or smoker. In fact, 64% of Americans own a grill or smoker. The great majority of these are LP fueled gas grills with comparatively few natural gas fired grills. These products can be enjoyed safely when designed, installed, and used in a proper manner. However, given the grill’s use of flammable fuel gas and high temperatures, the potential exists for things to go wrong and result in burn injuries or uncontained fires that spread to the surroundings. (more…)