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.
Remember the good old days when our homes were built with only lumber, dry-wall, and roofing? Me neither. However, we talk about 'modern' construction materials like this is a new phenomenon. The truth is 'modern' construction materials started sneaking into homes over fifty years ago. It's not only construction materials that have changed: a century ago, we furnished our houses with wood, cloth, metal, and glass. Today, it's plastics, foams, and coatings.
In my 25 years of investigating collisions and traffic related incidents, one thing I have noticed repeatedly is that right turns are considerably better than lefts. I know it is obvious and sometimes seems a little petty; however, when it comes to the safety of your family, it is a big deal. Since I am currently in the process of teaching my second child how to drive, I am harping on vehicle safety a lot and this is one of the many practices I teach. I have instilled in my children (and my wife has picked up on it as well) that they should always plan out their route and, in doing so, make right turns instead of lefts whenever possible. The “Right Turn Only” practice will make your travels safer.
NFPA 921 advises the use of a systematic approach to fire investigation that is best embodied by the scientific method. The scientific method includes the steps of collecting data, analyzing that data, developing a hypothesis, and then testing that hypothesis. The final step of this process, testing the hypothesis, can be done either physically or analytically. In some cases, a physical test may be conducted to confirm or falsify some aspect of the hypothesis. However, in many cases creating a physical test may be difficult or even practically impossible. It is these cases, and others, where analytic testing using computer simulations may be helpful to the fire investigator.
According to the OSHA regulations, a confined space is anyplace that meets the following criteria: (1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit; and (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
This is the first blog in a series on integrating new technologies into the process of forensic investigations. Documenting the scene of an incident accurately, efficiently, and safely is a key step in every investigation. Busy roadways and unstable structures present hazards to the investigator during the investigation process. The use of remote sensors can reduce these risks and provide data that otherwise could not safely be obtained.
Welcome to the third and final post in our multipart series of blog posts about a young boy's fall and serious injury at a public playground. In our first post we gave a brief overview of the incident and our investigation. In the second post we discussed some of the safety standards applicable to public playgrounds. In this post, we will examine some of the impact-absorbing playground surfaces available to protect children at playgrounds from injury. If you would like to read the first two posts, they are available here and here.
On December 3, 1984, at a pesticide ingredient manufacturing facility owned by Union Carbide, a leak occurred in the Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) plant. Due to the toxic nature of the gases released and the plant's proximity to local residences, the death toll was in the thousands; both plant workers and nearby residents. The first recorded public meeting in response to this incident was on December 9th, in Institute, WV, the site of Union Carbide's only US MIC production unit. Full disclosure: my father was a research & development chemist for Union Carbide and Institute is about 10 miles down the Kanawha River from my hometown of Charleston, WV.
Welcome to the second part in our multipart blog series examining a young boy's fall and injury at a public playground. If you missed the first part in this series, click www.warrenforensics.com/2017/10/11/children-will-fall-at-playgrounds-what-shall-we-do-to-protect-them-a-multipart-blog-series-part-i/ to read it. In this post, we will highlight some resources that designers of public playgrounds can use to help ensure their designs are reasonably safe.
Many people just take for granted that something is just going to work, and in many cases assume that it will work forever. One such device that does not get enough attention is the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Simply put, a GFCI is a protective device that compares the current flowing on the hot and neutral wires of the circuit and will "trip" to disconnect power to the circuit if a small imbalance of current is detected. The imbalance of current is an indication of a dangerous alternate path for the current to flow from a damaged line cord or a fault inside an appliance and constitutes a shock hazard to a person.
In 2011, a 5-year old boy was severely injured at a public playground when he fell through a second floor opening around a fireman's pole in a playhouse. He fell more than seven feet and struck a bare concrete floor. We are thankful that he eventually recovered from his injuries. The person who designed and built the playground was accused of negligence. A lawsuit ensued, and eventually settled in favor of the boy.
Event Data Recorders (EDRs) were first introduced by General Motors (GM) in 1974. That data was only available to GM; however, since 1994 more and more vehicle EDR’s have recorded data that can be gathered. The data captured can be imaged and is being used by vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement officers, and collision reconstructionists to better understand what is happening in a collision. In accident investigation, EDRs have the potential to provide independent measurements of crash data that would elsewise be estimated by reconstruction methodology.
When thinking about the safe operation of boilers (and don't we all?), several systems can readily be named; flame control, fuel/air ratio; steam pressure control, levels in the vessel, etc. What about the water? It seems so passive, as long as there is enough for level control, what's the big deal? Well, it turns out, that as the steam produced by a boiler is used in the process, the condensate from that steam is returned to the boiler as feedwater. However, since 100% of the condensate is not returned, whatever solids had been in that water before it evaporated to form steam are left in the remaining water. Fresh feedwater is added to maintain levels, but even fresh water contains some dissolved solids. So over time, the water in the boiler system gets saturated with all sorts of dissolved minerals.