Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: safety design analysis

  1. The Role of Interlocking Guards in Injury Prevention

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    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…)

  2. Don’t Get Burned With Your Gas Grill!

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    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…)

  3. What You May Not Know About Using a Concrete Test Hammer

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    When assessing potential problems in concrete structures, consider a non-destructive test using the concrete test hammer, AKA “rebound hammer,” before investing a lot of time and money needlessly replacing or destructively testing the concrete structure.  The use of rebound hammer tests should be considered before you or your client decide to drill multiple core samples. Large areas of the concrete structure suspected of having potential strength problems can be tested quickly with a rebound hammer.  Analysis of those results can narrow down specific areas for more rigorous testing. (more…)

  4. What’s Behind That CE Mark Part Three, Machine Guard Requirements

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    In the first blog in this series, we discussed the story behind the CE mark, the Machinery Directive, and the associated requirements regarding the design, production, and sale of machinery bearing the mark. The second blog discussed a cornerstone of safer machine design, the risk assessment. This installment will discuss another crucial piece of the safety puzzle, machine guard design. (more…)

  5. Working on the Waves While Working the Waves…

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    The rumors of my pending retirement have been greatly exaggerated…..

    Ever since I heard about The Great Loop I have wanted to cruise it (www.greatloop.org).  To successfully complete the Loop, one needs to have 3 things: adequate equipment, adequate time, and adequate health. I had the first and third.  To secure the second, I had floated the idea of a two-year sabbatical.  A year to complete any existing cases and a year to execute The Great Loop.

    With the arrival of COVID-19, our firm went to remote work. (more…)

  6. The CE Mark and What Should It Mean to You? Part Two

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    In the previous blog (Part One) we discussed the backstory behind the two stylized letters CE and what it means to the design of machinery bearing the mark.   We outlined some of the requirements of the “Machinery Directive” (MD) which include what are known as “Essential Health and Safety Requirements.” The Essential Health and Safety Requirements incorporate an iterative risk reduction process during design that takes into account (more…)

  7. Failure to Maintain Tow Hook Latch Results in Bystander Death

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    An unfortunate and tragic case that we investigated involved a commercial “rollback” recovery truck that was being used to transport a four-wheel drive diesel pickup.  The diesel pickup was not in running order with its’ engine in the bed of the truck.  Consequently, a commercial towing company was hired by the truck owner to transport the truck.  In the process of loading the truck onto the rollback, the truck came uncoupled from the winch and cable system.  The truck then rolled down the inclined bed of the rollback, running over and killing a bystander. (more…)

  8. Product Design is Critical to Consumer Safety

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    As the holiday season nears, thoughts turn to wonderful home-cooked meals with family.  Few things in life are more pleasurable than a traditional holiday turkey feast. Yet for an unfortunate few, holiday meal time can turn tragic if a turkey frying accident occurs.   While fried turkeys may be tasty, many fire safety experts feel that the reward is not worth the risk.  (more…)

  9. Manufacturer Settles with Operator Injured by a Flying Tool Fragment from Milling Machine

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    In my June 2015 blog, I discussed a personal injury case where the jury decided that the lack of interlocks on the covers of a swamp cooler did not render it defective, even though it was technologically feasible to do so and their existence would have prevented the amputation.  Conversely, in another interesting personal injury case involving a computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machine, a large settlement was made by the manufacturer with the injured operator because the machine did not have adequate interlocks on its enclosure doors. (more…)

  10. Jury Claims Swamp Cooler is Not Defective; Interlocked Guards are Not Required

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    An evaporative cooler, also known as a “swamp cooler”, is an air conditioner that works by evaporating water.   A float valve keeps several inches of water in the bottom of the unit. A pump takes water from the pan to the top of a series of vertical pads made of absorbent materials like wood fibers. The water flows by gravity through the fiber pads. A fan pulls hot air from outside the house through the soaked pads. Water in the pads evaporates, cooling the air and increasing its humidity. The cooled and humidified air is blown back into the house. Evaporative coolers need to be cleaned periodically. (more…)

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