Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: safety

  1. 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…)

  2. 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…)

  3. Defective Vertical Baler Causes Serious Crush Injury to Operator’s Arm

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    I recently worked on an interesting case involving a box baler. An employee of a butcher shop put some empty cardboard boxes in a vertical box baler and pushed the control switch to compact the boxes. After the 30 by 60 inch platen weighing 851 pounds returned to its raised position, the employee reached into the open space above the bottom door on the baler and began to clear cardboard from the bale tie slots in the bottom of the raised platen. Suddenly, and without warning, the steel pin attaching the platen to the raised hydraulic cylinder rod failed. The heavy steel platen fell and crushed his arm which was outstretched over the baler door into the compaction space.

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  4. 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…)

  5. Crawler Crane Calamity at Cement Plant

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    A production building was being constructed at a cement plant.  A large crawler crane was being used to install the pre-assembled metal wall framing of the building.  The weights and lift radii of the four wall framing sections, along with the rigging spreader and other lift equipment, were within the rated capacity of the crane. (more…)

  6. Crane Pile Driving: Who Owns This Loss?

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    The boom of a hydraulic crane was bent while removing temporary sheet piles at a construction site.  A vibratory hammer had been placed at the top of the sheet piles to both drive and remove the piles. The vibratory pile driving placed no significant loads on the crane boom, as that operation relied on the weight of the sheet piles and the vibration of the hammer to sink the piles into the soil.  The vibration of the hammer and the lifting force of the crane boom were needed to remove the sheet piles from the soil. (more…)

  7. Mobile Crane Ground Support

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    Mobile cranes depend on stability through their outriggers. These are the four “legs” that are deployed onto soil or other working surfaces adjacent to the crane.  When a mobile crane is set up at a site, the outriggers are deployed by a hydraulic mechanism that extends the four outriggers beyond the crane body and then jack the crane free of its wheels so that it is supported by the outriggers only. (more…)

  8. Crane Balancing Act

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    The operation of many cranes is a balancing act — one very similar to the childhood experience of using a playground seesaw. When the equipment isn’t properly balanced, the crane may succumb to the tipping force and fall to one side. Such a tipover is more common in mobile cranes rather than fixed-tower cranes.
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