Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: personal injury

  1. Conveyor Backstops: Sometimes One Isn’t Enough, Part 2

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    This is the second in a two-part blog series about conveying equipment that severely injured a worker at a mine. In case you missed it, click here to read Part 1 where I describe the incident and the mining equipment. In this part, I will discuss my engineering analysis of the incident and the machinery involved and share the conclusions I reached.

    The injured miner was a front-end loader operator. He was not a maintenance worker. He simply responded to a radio request for help with the conveyor. Power to the electric conveyor motors was locked out, but none of the maintenance workers did anything to lock out or block the hazardous gravitational potential energy in the heavy load of stone on the belt. (more…)

  2. Conveyor Backstops: Sometimes One Isn’t Enough, Part 1

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    This is the first of a two-part blog series describing an incident involving conveying machinery that seriously injured a miner. Part 1 describes the machinery and the incident. In Part 2 I will summarize my engineering analysis of the incident and share the conclusions I reached.

    A loaded, inclined conveyor belt may contain hazardous levels of energy due to gravity. To protect workers, anti-reverse devices called backstops are installed on inclined conveyors to prevent unexpected downhill movement. The Conveyor Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (CEMA) defines a backstop as: (more…)

  3. Unguarded Shear Point on Force Tester Amputates Worker’s Finger

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    A worker was injured while testing gas springs similar to the type that hold the hatchback of an SUV open. The hazard that injured the worker was an unguarded shear point. The tester contained a mounting plate that was raised and lowered by a pneumatic cylinder.

    The pneumatic cylinder lowered the mounting plate while the worker’s fingers were in the hazardous, unguarded shear point. (more…)

  4. Gas Cylinder Leaks: What’s that Odor? Get out quick!

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    Pressurized cylinders filled with various gases are very common, from the propane fuel tank under your barbeque grill to acetylene for welding to fluorine for production of many common products.  A leak from almost any of these can cause damage or significant losses, from a fire to physical injury, or asphyxiation.

    Owner protection against losses and injury can range from nothing to significant, such as storage in ventilated closets or gas detection alarms. In one case the regulator valve on a small CO2 cylinder used in a bar to pressurize beer kegs broke off. The cylinder rocketed around the bar room, causing at least one serious injury. (more…)

  5. Forensic Examination of Losses that Include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s)

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    Many modern machines and processes are controlled by Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s).  PLC’s are essentially computers that have the ability, properly connected and programmed, to interface with the outside world and control the actions of a machine like a robot or conveyor.  The PLC has a processor for processing the user programmed logic, and also has input / output (I/O) wiring provisions for both analog (e.g. temperatures and pressure transducers) and digital (e.g. limit switches and indicator lights) devices.  (more…)

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