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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
In my previous blog , I discussed the most basic and most common fire system type: wet sprinkler systems. The possible failure areas discussed with wet systems will also apply to dry sprinkler systems (control valves closed, obstructions, issues in the system, installation, or deficiencies with inspection, testing, and maintenance). Dry systems are even more prone to obstructions than wet systems, so close attention should be paid to that possibility. (more…)
Ladders…not a particularly exciting topic I’ll admit. But hey, we need ladders to help us accomplish all kinds of tasks. Most people have used at least one of the many types of ladders that are available today. And the odds are probably pretty good that many of those users strayed outside the limits of safety a time or two while on a ladder. It is amazing the risks some people will take to save some time or avoid the inconvenience of getting down to move the ladder into a safer position. I wonder how many of those risks would be taken on a ladder if the users knew they were on camera.
Think about astronaut Neil Armstrong. He travelled by rocket almost 239,000 miles through space and (more…)
Forensic engineers may be called upon to investigate a broad array of problems concerning a machine. Cases involving physical injuries and even death are a large part of what we investigate in order to determine what caused the accident to happen and who may be at fault. Occasionally, problems with a recently designed custom machine do not cause a physical injury, but instead cause a “financial” injury. This type of “injury” can negatively impact the machine designer, the machine purchaser, or possibly both. Financial injuries can be quite substantial, just as physical injuries can be, and may severely impact a company’s cash flow which can make or break a company. A refusal to pay a designer/builder of a machine or paying for a machine that ends up not meeting the agreed upon performance specifications can have catastrophic consequences for many businesses, especially for small ones. (more…)
After a major fire, it is necessary to investigate the fire sprinkler system to see if and why it malfunctioned. Wet sprinkler systems are the most common and least complex fire sprinkler systems in use. The following are major items addressed in an investigation involving a wet system.
If available, drawings of the supply piping and sprinkler system are helpful. If these are not available, a sketch of the system will be made. Requests will also be made for inspection, testing, and maintenance documentation as well as fire alarm logs.
The top reason that fire sprinkler systems do not function correctly during a fire is (more…)
The adequacy of a crane’s load line to support the weight of the object being lifted is an obvious concern when evaluating a crane lifting operation. Less obvious, but often equally important, is the presence and adequacy of taglines to provide control of the load orientation.
Taglines are simply ropes or lines that are (more…)
Previously, Warren posted the first installment of a series on losses associated with heating systems. The first article looked at central forced air furnaces. This new article will look at a common form of supplemental or secondary heat, oil filled electric radiant heaters. These heaters are commonly used to provide extra heating in areas that are lacking in central heating capacity. Another rationale for their use arises from manufacturer’s claims that the portable heating units can lower your power bill. This is based on (more…)