New England Offices: 1011 High Ridge Road, Ste 303 Stamford, CT 06905
Forensic Engineering: We have a highly qualified team of Mechanical, Biomechanical and Electrical engineers, most of whom hold doctorates or other advanced engineering degrees from top universities. Our engineers have hundreds of publications and are active in safety and accident research. Over the past decades, our engineers have helped thousands of attorneys and others pursue their cases.
Airbags are credited with reducing numerous injuries and saving many lives during vehicle accidents. However, there have been incidents where they do not function as intended, and have even caused injuries such as explosive powder burns, detached eye retinas, child suffocation and impact deaths.
Animations are useful visual tools that can help jurors understand how an incident could, or could not, have occurred. Simply describing an event in court, or showing still pictures, may be insufficient to explain a complex sequence of events.
Biomechanics is the application of mechanics to the interaction of biological systems with their external environment. When investigating an accident, biomechanical analysis can be used to reconstruct a victim’s motion and relate it to his injuries.
When an understanding of complex motions associated with various accidents is required, computer simulation is an invaluable tool, which allows the modeling and visualization of rollovers and collisions. In addition to vehicle accidents, computer simulation can also be used to create many other systems of masses and contacting surfaces, such as a toppling light pole after it has been struck.
Construction sites and equipment present many hazards if proper care is not taken. The space in and around a construction site is often filled with potentially dangerous, high-powered equipment capable of delivering high forces.
Doors and gates, whether automated or manual, can pose a serious hazard to users if not designed, manufactured, installed and maintained properly. The different types include automatic doors, overhead garage doors, elevator doors, sliding doors, swinging doors, and automatic gates.
Electric fires are becoming more common as appliances and electric feeds are used more and more in our daily lives. Like other fires, the root cause of an electric fire is the introduction of heat, oxygen, and fuel.
Electric power and electronic appliances are so integrated with modern life that there is a high degree of likelihood that everyone will receive one or more electric shocks in a lifetime. In many cases, only trivial power levels are involved.
Second only to automobile accidents, falls are the leading cause of injury and deaths. Of these, accidents due to slipping or tripping form a large proportion. Slips and trips occur on floors, streets, walkways, stairs, etc.
Forklifts, industrial trucks, skid steer loaders, bobcats and other similar material-handling machines are often difficult to maneuver and susceptible to a wide range of accidents. Their nature exposes operators and nearby co-workers to falling loads, crushing hazards and lading dock falls.
There are roughly 9,000 golf cart related accidents requiring emergency room treatment in the United States each year. The majority of these accidents are related to either braking, cart rollover or passenger ejection. These problems are common to golf carts due to their open design, lack of seatbelts, poor braking capabilities and the uneven terrains they are driven on.
The primary function of all guarding is to prevent an operator or bystander from being injured by a potentially dangerous portion of a machine. Often the hazard involves moving parts with the potential to cut, crush or draw-in body parts, although barrier guards may also be necessary when electrical, thermal or chemical dangers are present.
Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) is a branch of science, which is concerned with man’s interaction with his universe. Thus, it is not simply the study of pure science (e.g. sound or light), but rather man’s understanding and reactions (e.g. to hear and see).
There are over 100,000 ladder accidents annually in the U.S. requiring hospital emergency room treatment. Although many of these result from user misuse, such as an improper extension ladder lean angle against a wall causing it to slip outward, use of a damaged ladder, or failing to lock a step ladder’s spreaders, many ladders fail due to design or manufacturing defects.
Motorcycles, like passenger cars, are capable of high speeds and must share the road with other vehicles. However, unlike passenger cars, motorcycles are capable of rapid accelerations, offer little protection to the operator during a collision and require special skills to maneuver effectively.
In many vehicle accident investigations, it is necessary to know not only the speeds and motions of the vehicles involved, but the causes of injuries suffered by their occupants as well. Such investigations seek to answer questions regarding occupant ejection, effects of seatbelt use, airbag deployment and body-interior impacts.
Parking lots are the scene of many pedestrian accidents because of the close proximity of people and cars and the confusing traffic patterns that sometimes exist. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle collisions, many trip and fall accidents occur in parking lots as well.
Though swimming pool accidents are sometimes the result of reckless participant behavior, they can also be caused by inadequate supervision, warnings, structures, or defective pool design. Structures commonly found in or near swimming pools include slides, ladders, diving surfaces and fencing.
Approximately 125,000 serious injuries occur in the US each year related to the use of portable and fixed power saws. Lacerations and similar injuries, such as abrasions and avulsions, account for over 90% of these, which generally occur to males and result in losses in the tens of millions of dollars annually.
An end user of a product expects that a given product will not only function as intended, but will be safe from non-obvious hazards. Based upon decades of experience with mishaps during use of common and specialized equipment, thousands of standards have been developed for many consumer products and industrial equipment. Numerous organizations exist, e.g., ANSI, ASTM, SAE, and ASME, that regularly review and update these standards.
Places of business, residences, parking and recreational areas contain potential accident sources such as slippery floors and stairs, product displays, automatic doors, ledges, railings, elevators, escalators and other hazardous items. To prevent such items from causing injury to the public, premises owners and their agents have a responsibility to recognize unsafe conditions and exercise reasonable care to maintain or make conditions safe, or warn the public of the risks involved.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, home improvement, and department stores expose their customers to many potential accident sources such as floors and aisles, which can become unsafe, and display merchandize that can topple or cause tripping. To prevent such accidents from occurring, these establishments should maintain routine scheduled inspections to insure that unsafe conditions are detected and corrected before accidents occur.
In many vehicle rollover investigations, it is necessary to know not only the speeds and motions of the vehicles involved, but the causes of injuries suffered by their occupants as well. Such investigations seek to answer questions regarding occupant ejection, effects of seatbelt use, roof crush and body-interior impacts.
Motor vehicle seatbelt use provides highly effective protection in frontal collisions for impact angles up to 30 degrees off-center (i.e. between 11 and 1 o’clock). All states have laws requiring their use for front seat passengers, as they have been shown to reduce moderate to severe injuries by 50%. They are less effective when your car is hit in the rear or side and sometimes their locking devices malfunction or the anchorage gives way.
Recreation, sports, and gym equipment are subjected to large dynamic forces and must be designed to support these loads and protect users from unintentional hazards. Adequate instructions and warnings may be required if their assembly and proper use are not obvious.
Codes and standards specify criteria necessary to ensure that a product, material or process will consistently and safely perform its intended function. Although standards provide minimum design requirements, conforming to a standard is not always sufficient in preventing an accident.
Structural failure can often produce catastrophic results. In many cases, the damage seen after the accident is not indicative of the cause of the initial failure. Fortunately, based on physical evidence, an investigator can frequently determine how and why a structure failed.
Heavy trucks, whether tractor-trailers, construction vehicles or garbage haulers, are involved in many serious traffic accidents due to their large weight, high centers of gravity, decreased visibility, poor handling and reduced braking efficiency. In addition, articulated tractor-trailers are subject to additional problems such as jack-knife and trailer sway instabilities.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common type of incidents producing injury in the US. The main issues in litigating automotive accidents involve vehicle speeds, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment, vehicle component failure (e.g. steering, braking), roadway design, occupant biomechanics, rollover, visibility, etc.
A person’s interaction with his environment comes largely from visual cues. Without this information, a pedestrian can trip over an unseen object or a driver might not detect a dangerous situation. In order to avoid these hazards, a person requires adequate lighting and should be provided with appropriate illumination for a given task.
A warning must inform individuals of a danger, which would not be obvious to them. It must tell them how to avoid the danger, and be easily understood. It should also provide them with the consequences of not heading the warning.
A car is stopped for a light when it is unexpectedly rear-ended causing little or no damage to either vehicle. Nevertheless, the passengers of the struck vehicle complain of neck, shoulder and back pain. Insurance claim representatives, attorneys, medical, engineering and biomedical experts are then brought in and various conflicting allegations, testimony and opinions are expressed.
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the United States result in approximately 80,000 and 50,000 injuries each year, respectively. Though pedestrians and bicycles move differently, they share important characteristics as both have little protection during a roadway collision with a motor vehicle.
A standard can be defined as a document issued by a recognized agency, and dealing with design and/or safety requirements relating to a specific product or type of activity. Such agencies include the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (051-IA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA standards are generally legally binding for an employer, while ANSI standards are generally of an advisory nature. The term "industry standard," however, is ordinarily taken to have a broader meaning, including formal standards as just defined, and also including designs and procedures not required in formal standards, though prevailing in a specific industry, and which represent generally accepted custom and practice.
Persons with no training in engineering are generally unaware of the nature of engineering analysis, and so tend to assume that testing, as a means of determining the causation of accidents, is a dominant tool of the engineer. In the following examples, we shall undertake to explain the nature of engineering analysis, and to show that it is more basic than testing because testing without analysis is meaningless. Further, while analysis is always necessary in accident reconstruction, testing is only sometimes necessary.
Second to automobile accidents, accidents due to falls are the leading cause of injury and death. Of these, accidents due to slipping (not tripping) form a large proportion. Slipping may occur on floors, walkways, and stairs or steps. For Introductory purposes, however, the present discussion will be limited to slipping on flat surfaces such as a floor or sidewalk.
When a person becomes aware of a dangerous situation, a time-interval must elapse before he can take defensive action against it. This time interval, commonly called the reaction time, has been found to be about 0.7 second for all normal persons, regardless of their background and training. This suggests that the reaction time depends on some basic aspect of the human physiology-involving the brain, nervous system, and muscles-which does not vary much from person to person.
A car is stopped for a light when it is unexpectedly rear-ended by a vehicle from behind. It is not a hard impact and there is little or no damage to either vehicle, because the energy absorbing bumpers have protected them. Nevertheless, the passengers of the struck vehicle complain of neck, shoulder and back pain. The next day they allegedly experience even greater pain and visit a medical person who claims that they have been injured. Insurance claim representatives, attorneys, medical, engineering and biomedical experts are then brought in and various conflicting allegations, testimony and opinions are expressed. Do we have a legitimate injury claim on our hands or a situation of fraud?
Accident reconstructionists are often called on to determine the distance that a car, covers while being braked to a stop. Conversely, the reconstructionist may be given information as to the length of the skidmarks left by a car on the roadway, and may be asked to determine how fast the car must have been going at the beginning of the skid. An expert can accomplish this with considerable accuracy, based on a knowledge of the physical principles that are involved, plus available information relating to the friction of tires on various types of road surfaces.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 10,000 golf car related injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the US each year. One significant mode of injury in golf car accidents is passenger ejection, which can lead to serious injuries, especially of the head. Based on CPSC statistics, roughly 35% of golf car accidents involve a person falling out of the car. In addition to ejection accidents, at least 10% of golf car accidents involve a rollover and statistics indicate that such accidents are roughly twice as likely to lead to injuries requiring a hospital stay as non-rollover accidents.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accident estimates, tens of thousands of stepladder accidents requiring emergency room treatment occurred annually in the United States. Approximately 85-90% of these accidents involve the user falling from the ladder and 8-9% of these injuries are serious enough to require that the victim be admitted to a hospital. In addition to posing a severe health concern, these accidents have significant loss-of-wages and high medical expense implications.
Participation of the proper automotive expert in a personal injury lawsuit can govern its success. This article develops four basic principles to optimize their use, while minimizing their cost, and describes some important techniques used by the accident reconstructionist
Bransford Pickett, PE, BSc, MScBA, has over 25 years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer. A California Registered Professional Engineer, Mr. Pickett holds a BSE from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a MScBA in Finance from San Diego State University. His Materials Handling and Engineering Consulting Services are offered to insurance and end user companies nationally and internationally.
The combination of field expertise, engineering, and regulatory compliance experience provide Mr. Pickett's clients with a complete package of services. The depth and breadth of his expertise covers many successful design projects including commercial and military ships, many complex material handling activities, testing requirements of shipboard system, and development and implementation of compliance programs.
Many of the major projects include first of a kind challenges such as the Exxon Valdez post - accident docking and structural repairs, commission testing of navy auxiliary ships’ equipment including fueling systems, the US Navy Shughart Class Container Ship Conversion program, as well as shaft and appurtenance handling on the US Navy Watson Class ships. Included in these projects were planned engineered multi - crane lifts that reached in excess of 400 tons. These projects focused on safe, economic, simple designs compliant with applicable state and federal regulations, and national standards.
Engineered Material Handling Design and Review:
Services include single and multi-crane lift plans, material transport, and equipment testing. Design, review and analysis of supporting calculation of stresses imposed on lifting, supporting structure, and material handling equipment, and rigging gear. Equipment specification scope and review
Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering:
Perform intact, damage and probabilistic damage stability, and structural analysis on marine structures including barges, ships, and complimentary structures in accordance with regulatory bodies; ABS, Federal or State government
Training and Compliance:
Operator training compliance to National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, NCCCO, requirements for tower crane, mobile crane, overhead crane, articulating crane operator training and certification, signal person, and rigger certification
Compliance covers applicable national and international standards that include the ABS, ASTM, ASM, ASME, ANSI, WSTDA, ALI, etc. and DIN, EN, FEM to list a few. National regulations include state and federal OSHA requirements as well as DOE, military specifications and standards
Michael C. Wright, PE, CSP, CPE is a Professional Engineer with over 35 years of academic, practical, and specialized knowledge of Engineering, Construction, Safety, Maintenance, Demolition and Training in general industry and construction activities.
Mr. Wright's expertise is a definite plus in providing clients with leading edge information and insight. A licensed and practicing engineer, he rounds out his knowledge as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and Certified Plant Engineer to provide an insightful and accurate understanding of the issues involved in a case.
Mr. Wright has completed over 600 hours of specialized safety training, serves on ANSI and ASTM Standards committees and provides a thorough knowledge of OSHA Regulations, Directives and Letters of Interpretation. A recognized author, presenter, and trainer, Mr. Wright communicates the issues clearly for all to understand. His expert witness experience is a balanced blend of defense, plaintiff and OSHA Solicitor cases. He islicensed in 46 states.
The traditional methodology for addressing safety for facilities, machines or products is for owners, architects, engineers, consultants, contractors and vendors to complete the design, engineering, construction or fabrication of a project based on past knowledge, experience and training.
Since 1988, Real-World Forensic Engineering, LLC ("RWFE") has provided engineering services to industries and government labs, as well as litigation support to both plaintiff and defense attorneys practicing in many areas.
Electrocution & Switch Malfunction Grounding & Lightning Protection Lightning Impulse Testing Products and Premises Liability & Safety High-Voltage & Current Power Systems Bridge Design and Safety Fire & Explosion Cause and Origin And Much More...
At RWFE, we proudly distinguish ourselves by our Four C's:
B.S., M.S., M.Eng., M.B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. Degreed Licensed Professional Engineers in Mechanical, Electrical, and Civil Engineering Tenured University Professors and Professionals NAFI Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators (CFEI) Licensed Master Electricians
Over 80 Combined Years of Experience in Engineering R&D, Industry, Academia, Consulting, and Expert Witness Litigation Support Over 120 Combined Deposition and Court Testimonies
Internationally Recognized in Our Areas of Expertise More Than $19 Million in Peer-reviewed and Funded Research Grants Over 200 Combined Scientific Publications and Journal Articles
Over 20 Different Undergraduate and Graduate-level University Courses Over 30 Invited Short Courses, Talks, and Lectures
Design Evaluation – Accident Investigation – Intellectual Property Failure Analysis – Fire Cause & Origin – Component Testing Computer Aided Drafting – Accident Animation Expert Witness & Litigation Support
Trusted by clients since 2001, Rauch Safety & Engineering specializes in guiding private and public clients through Complex Fall Protection and Confined Spaces Infrastructure Access and Maintenance projects across specific industry sectors and markets utilizing our global network of resources to provide comprehensive world class advisory and management services.
Infrastructure designs for newly built or modernization projects are becoming increasingly complex, presenting a challenge for future inspections and maintenance. The ability to safely, efficiently and cost effectively perform these critical services is an important component in maximizing investment and stakeholder expectations over the long term, while remaining true to the original design intent.
Rauch provides a value not currently available in the market, our scope of work is comprehensive, providing world class advisory and management services that run concurrently from the early design phase, through to vendor selection, equipment turnover, commissioning and training and if required, unbiased and impartial mediation in the event of dispute.
With methods and principles that reflect that of our architectural, engineering and contractor clients, who combine creative investigation, strong technical integration and long-range vision with conscientious adherence to a project’s goals and objectives, Rauch since 2001, has delivered over 1000 projects worldwide and we look forward to continuing to partner with our existing and new clients to deliver successful projects in the future.
Principal Areas of Specialization Include:
Auditing Evaluation of Corporate Fall Protection Programs and Confined Space Programs
Infrastructure Access Observation Program (IAOP trade;)
Structural & Façade Maintenance
Human Factors Engineering
Ladders & Scaffolds
Walking & Working Surfaces
OSHA / International / Consensus Standards and Recommendations from other Professional Organizations
Building Maintenance Units (BMU)
Installation & Commissioning – Specialized in commissioning BMUs, site testing, and hand over
Upgrades – Upgrades mechanical, electrical and controls to meet regulations and ensure equipment safety
Retrofit – Complete refurbishment, replace platform, mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and control system or Complete replacement
Service & Maintenance – Perform required 30 days service & inspection, 6 months, and 12 months service as per OEM specification
Training - Train on how to use BMU and operate under an agreement with OEM
Loading testing as per OSHA and/or in country and local Standards & Recertification
Custom Access Equipment
Installation & Commissioning – Commission, site testing, and hand over. Rauch can commission any equipment under the guidance of manufacture
Upgrades – Upgrades mechanical, electrical and controls to meet regulation and ensure equipment safety
Retrofit – Complete refurbishment or Complete replacement
Installation of Hands-Free system or dog lines as per OEM specification
Loading testing as per OSHA and/or in country and local Standards & Recertification
Infrastructure Applications Include:
Power Supply & Transmission
Current and Past Memberships & Affiliations
Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC)
Design Build Institute of America (DBIA)
The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)
Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP ASE)
National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE)
India Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association
Ranch Safety was appointed by the client to facilitate the development of a comprehensive, property wide fall protection strategy and to work with clients U.S. and international design and operations internal resources teams, together with external multicultural project critical members which included architects, engineers, government authorities and contractors
Rapperport Associates, Inc., provides exceptional capability in Failure Analysis, Fire and Explosion Investigation, Accident Reconstruction, Structural Analysis, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials Science.
We have provided superior technical support for litigation since 1974, and possess an extraordinarily talented technical team with impeccable academic and industrial credentials and proven analysis capability. Our team of distinguished scientists and engineers is drawn principally from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and Stanford University.
R. Kevin Smith PE, BSME, MMAE, has been a specialist in Engineering Forensic Safety and Design for 35 years. He has consulted on over a 1,000 matters nationwide.
Mr. Smith is a registered professional engineer and holds a BSME and MMAE from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He specializes in Material Handling Equipment Safety, including lift trucks, dock safety, truck loading, conveyors, and aerial work platform safety.
Mr. has been actively involved as a member of the committee that writes the Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks (ASME/ANSI B56.1) for over 30 years. He also serves on the B56.6 committee (rough terrain lift trucks) and the ANSI A92.5 and A92.6 subcommittees (self-propelled elevating work platforms).
Litigation Support - Mr. Smith formerly worked for Triodyne, Inc. for over 15 years as a forensic engineer/principal engineer. As President of R. K. Smith Engineering Inc., he currently has a laboratory for examination and testing, and owns or has access to varied testing equipment and tools.
Kevin Smith has testified at depositions and trials on several hundred matters. He has performed hundreds of investigations into product failures involving injury and property damage, and has reconstructed numerous accidents. His expertise is available to counsel representing both Plaintiff and Defendant. Mr. Smith also is on the Adjunct Math faculty at Prairie State College.
Quality Forensic Engineering, LLC is a full-service forensic engineering and accident reconstruction firm, providing engineering support to clients in the areas of collision reconstruction, premises liability, and product liability. With over 20 years of experience for each of our senior engineers, we utilize the latest technology for documenting evidence and retrieving data including FARO 3D scanning, aerial drone imaging, and black box downloads. Our forensic engineers are mobile, supporting clients throughout the U.S. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida with a satellite office in Jacksonville, Florida, we look forward to serving you.
Dr. Brian Pfeifer, P.E.,
With over 20 years of experience investigating and testifying in cases involving a variety of forensic engineering issues, Dr. Pfeifer is a leading expert in accident reconstruction, roadside safety, maintenance of traffic, and analysis of mechanical systems, and product failures. Dr. Pfeifer has a strong background in the design, development, and implementation of roadside safety hardware including guardrails, bridge rails, and crash cushions. Over 33 patents have been filed worldwide on behalf of Dr. Pfeifer and associated colleagues who invented safer guardrail systems and terminals, vehicle storage systems, shipping container handling systems, and material handling and storage methods. Dr. Pfeifer has published numerous papers to various organizations including the Transportation Research Board and Port Technology International, covering topics ranging from new guardrail systems, energy-absorbing guardrail terminals, and breakaway mechanisms incorporated in traffic signs to material handling technology. Dr. Pfeifer’s expertise has been shared with many organizations such as the Florida Justice Association, Palm Beach County Justice Association, American Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, and Alabama Defense Lawyers Association with presentations he’s made on topics including vehicle collisions, bicycle accidents, roadway constructions zones, and accident reconstruction expert witness utilization. Dr. Pfeifer is a registered Professional Engineer in three states and stays current with learning new technology in the field of forensic engineering. He has refined his skills and knowledge of accident reconstruction and roadside safety by taking dozens of continuing education courses over the span of his career.
Tractor / Trailer Collisions
Black Box Analysis
Product Failure Analysis
Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) evaluation
Restraint System Analysis
Ms. Traci Campbell, P.E., CXLT,
Ms. Campbell is an Industrial engineer with specialties in industrial accident reconstruction, including slip, trip, and fall analysis, human and environment interaction, forklifts, applicable standards and guidelines, and workplace-safety issues. Her expertise also includes vehicular accident reconstruction involving automobiles, trucks, tractor-trailers, and recreational vehicles, as well as, product failure analysis.
Slip / Trip / Fall
Retail Facility Safety
Human and Environment Interaction
ANSI / ASTM / Building Codes
Guarding & Warnings
Forklifts and Construction Equipment
Theme Parks / Recreation Safety and Facilities
Tractor / Trailer Collisions
Airbag and Black Box Analysis
Product Design / Failure Analysis
Mr. Chris Yates, P.E.,
Mr. Chris Yates, P.E., is a Mechanical Engineer with specialties in accident reconstruction, including electronic module downloads for both automobile airbag modules and tractor-trailer electronic control modules. His expertise includes auto accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other roadway accidents. His expertise also includes seat belts, occupant kinematics, product failure analysis, and other general engineering issues.
Dr. J.P. Purswell, PhD, PE, CPE has extensive experience in Human Factors, Ergonomics and Safety Engineering. He has completed projects for clients in all these areas and regularly teaches ergonomics and safety engineering at Colorado State University. Dr. Purswell Consults with Manufacturers on Product Safety Issues, including Warnings and Instructions. He also Consults with Employers regarding the development and implementation of safe and ergonomically sound work practices, including the identification and control of ergonomic risk factors for back injuries and upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders.
Dr. Purswell has prepared ANSI Z535 compliant instructions and warnings for attic ventilators, deer-stands, LPG hoses, ammonia hoses, warehouse rack systems, and arts and craft products among others. He has also prepared ANSI Z129.1 compliant warnings for a range of chemical products from gasoline pump warnings to brake pads and ammonia hoses, and OSHA and ANSI Z400.1 compliant material safety data sheets for several chemical manufacturers.
Dr. Purswell is the author of more than 20 publications or presentations on product safety, occupational safety, printed warnings, and auditory warnings. He has been inducted into Alpha Pi Mu, the Industrial Engineering Honor Society and is a recipient of the Gordon Fellowship from the University of Oklahoma.
Design and Testing of Instruction Manuals and on Product Warnings
Usability Testing of Products for Ease-of-Use and Safety
OSHA Audits for Employers
Employer Training - Benchmarking Safety Performance Against a Company's Industry
Employer Training - How to Prepare For OSHA Inspections
In 2005 a summary of "General Duty Clause" citations issued for ergonomic hazards was published (Purswell & Purswell, 2005). That summary showed that the primary area of ergonomics citation activity under the "General Duty Clause" (paragraph (5)(a)(1) of the OSHAct of 1970) by OSHA to that point had been concentrated in nursing homes, peaking in 2002 and 2003.
The purpose of the current study was to update and expand upon an earlier study performed to review and categorize OSHA accident investigation records for pedestrian-backing vehicle accidents according to whether the backing vehicle had a backup alarm and whether the alarm was installed and functioning as intended. The current study includes an analysis of additional records as well as the business type (SIC code) of the employer.
Homer R. Peterson II, PE, CSP, is a Construction, General Industry, and OSHA Safety Consultant and Construction Consultant. He has over 40 years of Construction and Safety experience (17 union, 23 non-union) in various positions such as president, senior vice president, vice president, project manager, and timekeeper.
Consulting Services Include:
Falls from Elevation
Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems
Standards of Care
Standards of Care
Mr. Peterson's responsibilities have included estimating, sales, project management, scheduling, expediting, quality, troubleshooting, and administration, plus 20 years in charge of safety and risk management. Work overseen has included over 350 projects in 21 states of the United States and in Puerto Rico, including airports, bridges, casinos, convention centers, convocation centers, distribution centers, hospitals, hotels, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, paper mills, pharmaceutical plants, power plants, prisons, refineries, schools, stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, steel mills, and warehouses.
Mr. Peterson was presented the Ray Lambright Excellence in Safety Award by the Houston Chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) to recognize his personal contributions to safety in the construction industry. He has been engaged to speak on numerous occasions on fall protection and constructions safety.
Overhead Crane Consults, LLC, is an overhead crane consulting company. Although they do not build cranes or have any affiliation with crane builders, they help level the playing field between an inexperienced buyer and a very experienced seller. Overhead Crane Consults has extensive experience with Overhead Bridge Cranes, Gantry Cranes, Jib Cranes, Hoists, Monorails, and Crane Runway Systems. Services Include:
Custom Crane Specification Writing
Custom Crane Safety Programs
Expert Witness Services
D. Larry Dunville has over 35 years of Overhead Crane experience. Mr. Dunville has built, installed, engineered, estimated, sold and serviced overhead bridge cranes. He has sat on the industry committees that wrote the crane specs for the steel industry, written articles, and taught professional architects and engineers about the special requirements to be aware of when designing buildings that will house overhead cranes.
D. Larry Dunville's Video Introduction
In the early 90's, Mr. Dunville lead the effort to become one of the first cranes builders in the US to attain ISO9001 certification, which lead directly to Dearborn Crane and Engineering winning the Indiana Governor's Quest For Excellence Award and the Indiana University Kelly School of Business Growth 100 two consecutive years.
Business Experience - Mr. Dunville served as the Owner/President of Dearborn Crane & Engineering Co., a builder and installer of overhead cranes and crane runway systems, from 1975-2012. He was also the former Owner/President of Xcel Computer Systems, a CAD/CAM systems integrator. Mr. Dunville is currently the Owner/President of Digital Industrial Marketing, LLC (2014 to present) and Overhead Crane Consulting, LLC (2016 to present). Dennis Dunville is a regular public speaker for training sessions to professional and trade groups. He taught the overhead crane portion of the OSHA 10 & 30 hour course for Northern Indiana NIOSHA office and overhead crane design classes to dozens of architect, engineer, and contracting firms. Mr. Dunville is a member of the AISE/AIST committee's #6 & #13 that wrote the overhead crane specs and the specs for metal buildings with cranes, for the US Steel industry and currently publishes crane installation, crane safety, and crane control articles for industry trade journals.
Larry is the former Executive Director of the Crane Certification Associaiton of America and a member of ASME/ANSI B30.2 Overhead and Gantry Cranes Committee that writes the specs for the US crane industry.
Overhead Crane Arizona Office 3606 N. Larrea Lane Tuscon, AZ 85750 Telephone: 574-210-8612
Knowing how cranes should be used, and how they should not be used, is critical to crane safety. Overload, side pull, limit switches, secondary braking devices, using the reverse direction for speed control, and daily inspections are surrounded by myth and mystery in the workplace.
Think you've done everything a prudent person should do to make sure your workers are safe? Think you've done everything necessary to protect yourself and your company against a wrongful death suit? Well, I've got news for you, it's not good and here's why
You have a shiny new building with a shiny new crane and everything looks great. For some reason, though, the crane won't clear the building columns, even though the contractor and the crane manufacturer are saying everything is to spec and it's not their problem. Common sense says somebody is wrong and that somebody should have to pay (because it's going to cost a bundle).
It is absolutely critical in the evaluation of a legal case involving cranes, to determine what type crane is involved. The word "Crane" is a generic term that covers virtually anything that lifts with a hook, but each crane type is a whole different industry with different industry associations (which compile the industry product specifications), different governing specification and different OSHA requirements. As a matter of fact, some cranes don't even have hooks!
John L. Ryan, BSME, P.E. of Mechanical and Safety Engineering (MASE), is a Mechanical Engineer who provides general and specialized Mechanical and Structural, and Design Engineering Consultation Services. He is knowledgeable and dedicated to increasing the efficiency of the manufacturing process by reducing material costs and trimming unnecessary material while ensuring structural integrity.
Mr. Ryan's Engineering services include the designing of pressure vessels, buildings, HVAC systems, and mechanical machine components. He is available to perform accident reconstruction, identify product defects, guard machine hazards, develop product warnings, do destructive and nondestructive testing, and design and construct factory automation robotic machines.
John L. Ryan is a noted author in his field of expertise having published 8 books and written several Safety Engineering articles. MASE has branches in Arkansas and Michigan, and also provides engineering expertise to clients located around the country.
Tree stand accidents occur frequently during hunting season, causing a variety of injuries from broken bones to paralysis and death. Tree stand accidents involve a variety of causes, including falls from the tree stand, collapse of the tree stand, fires, self inflicted gunshot wounds, and asphyxiation. A study by the Center for Disease Control examined hunting accidents from 1979-1989. 214 of 594 deer hunting related accidents involved tree stands. 52% of these tree stand accidents were due to falls from the stand, 32% were due to collapse of the tree stands.
This issue of Forensic Clues is the second installment of an examination of ladder accidents. Last month we explored stepladders, this month we will be discussing extension ladders. Ladder accidents are a very common occurrence. Over half a million people annually seek medical attention due to ladder accidents. Over three hundred people are killed yearly in these often preventable accidents. This is a serious problem.
Ladder accidents occur frequently, often with very serious consequences. Ladders are tools that people use repeatedly, at home and on the job. The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) states that there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries annually due to ladders in the United States.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 1,600 and 2,000 amputations occur annually due to power press operation. Another 18,000 people receive less serious injuries annually. Injury statistics compiled by OSHA for the years 1975 through 1983 confirm these figures. These numbers are alarming and unnecessarily high. Power presses can be used safely when the presses are properly designed to minimize the hazard that the operator is exposed to.
Every year there are thousands of debilitating injuries and deaths on farms. Many of these are related to power take-off's (PTO's). PTO shafts are used to power various farming implements, from mowers, hay balers, augers, and many other types of farming machinery. The PTO shaft was invented in the 1930's. The PTO shaft is essentially a shaft powered by the tractor engine that rotates at high speeds, providing power for a wide array of implements. While this provides a convenient source of power to drive farm implements, serious accidents can occur due to entanglement in PTO's. PTO's must be properly equipped with guards including master shields which covers the stub shaft and universal joint. These shields prevent inadvertent contact with the rotating machinery. Contact with unshielded rotating PTO parts can instantly pull a person into the PTO, causing catastrophic damage.
Rock and ice climbing have become increasingly popular in recent years. Climbing is now a popular form of exercise and adventure, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately the greater numbers involved in the sport has led to greater number of accidents. Climbing gyms have brought climbing to areas without outdoor rock resources. These indoor gyms use artificial holds to simulate rock walls. Indoor climbing gyms typically have climbs ranging from twenty feet to fifty feet, or more. Bouldering areas are shorter in height, with adequate padding to protect climbers from falls without the need for ropes.
While many accidents involving products are the result of a product defect that leads to injury of the product user, accidents can also be the result of a failure caused by lack of maintenance or inspection. This issue of Clues will examine the theory behind failure to maintain accidents, as well as provide examples of common accidents that are due to a lack of maintenance.
Material science is a broad field that has applications in numerous fields. In product injury cases, material science can help identify defects, determine causes of accidents, determine failure modes, and identify inconsistent manufacturing processes.
No one likes to see children get hurt, especially when it could be prevented. Poor design, manufacturing defects, material defects, assembly errors, and the lack of a hazard analysis can result in hazardous products that injure people. Many products are put in stores that may have never been looked at by a design engineer and/or a safety specialist.
Fishing and boating accidents result in thousands of injuries each year. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 3331 injuries and 709 fatalities due to boating accidents on both recreational and commercial vessels. There are many causes for these accidents, including collisions with objects or other vessels, drowning, electrical and mechanical failures, interaction with unguarded machinery, and others. There are various acts and laws that govern accidents at sea. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine some of the preventable accidents caused by defective machinery and equipment that occur at sea, and a brief overview of the laws and regulations affecting product liability litigation related to maritime accidents.
Paintball is a fun activity for all ages, and can be a safe sport if proper precautions are made. Serious eye injury can occur if a paintball impacts the eyeball, making goggles and facemask a requisite part of paintball. Accidents happen in backyard paintball games most frequently, but also at commercial paintball operations. This Clues will examine the typical preventable paintball accidents, as well as examine product failures that can lead to accidents while playing paintball.
Accident reconstruction involves attempting to determine the sequence of events of an accident and is a crucial part of product liability cases. Understanding exactly what occurred in an accident gives an engineer the best chance of preventing the accident from occurring again. Often there is limited information to base conclusions on what really happened in an accident. Understanding what goes into accident reconstruction will help attorneys understand what information is crucial to this process. Witness testimony is unreliable at best but must be analyzed and cross referenced with the other available information.
Lawnmowers cause over 50,000 emergency-room visits every year, based on NEISS data on consumer product injuries. These injuries are distributed evenly between ride-on and walk-behind style mowers. The necessary cutting action of a mower results in an inherent hazard, until technology is developed that can cut grass but not living tissue. While various safety advances over the years have reduced the amount of injuries, the extremely high number of accidents related to mowers that continue to occur show the need for further enhancement of product safety.
Machine guarding accidents cause many accidents and fatalities every year, despite the availability of modern safety technology. In the years from 1992-1996, one study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported annual injuries due to workers being caught in machinery of 34,350. In 2012 contact with an object or equipment had the second highest workplace fatality rate at 712 deaths.
OSHA was created through the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA's mission is to ensure worker safety by creating and enforcing safety and health standards. OSHA does many good things to help maintain a safe workplace, but manufacturers often try to hide behind the shield of OSHA, putting blame on an employer for unsafe machinery or working conditions, when often the machinery was never safe to begin with. Some standards promote safety and some standards protect the manufacturer from product liability law suits. Most industrial standards are voluntary, unless they are specifically referenced in a Code of Federal Regulations / OSHA standard. OSHA standards are Federally mandated and are enforced by the Federal government.
Stored energy is accumulated energy, which can release suddenly, potentially causing serious injury or death. Stored energy has many forms, including pressurized gases and liquids, stored mechanical energy, stored electrical energy, and gravitational potential energy. Stored energy is particularly dangerous because the hazard still exists when the original source of energy is removed. This issue of Clues will explain the various forms of hazardous stored energy, how these energies can cause damage or injuries, and how to prevent stored energy accidents.
Table saw accidents occur frequently, often resulting in serious accidents when the operator comes in contact with the saw blade. The difficulties in guarding table saw blades with conventional guarding techniques often leads to ineffective guards that are removed by saw operators due to their lack of function and flexibility.
A significant number of elderly persons experience falls every year. In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries involving elderly people were treated in emergency rooms around the country. In the same year, 21,700 elderly people died as the result of unintentional falls. Falls for elderly people are extremely hazardous as they may not recover from fractures and other injuries.
Product Liability Reform has affected many attorneys, consumers, and experts negatively while failing in its goal of greater American competitiveness. This issue of Forensic Clues is dedicated to addressing the problems of tort reform, how this affects you, and what you as an attorney can do to reduce your costs and increase your chances of a successful product liability case, assuming that the case involves a legitimate product defect.
A recent failure of a ski lift in Wisconsin has received much media attention. While accidents such as these are rare, they do occur. Much more frequent are accidents involving collisions with other people or objects. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine the types of accidents that occur on the mountains.
Powered winches are in use in a variety of applications, some of the most common include vehicle-mounted electric winches, marine vessel winches, marine recovery winches, industrial winches and chain hoists. Accidents occur in all types of winch uses.
Between 1982 and 1996, 2,795 people died riding all-terrain vehicles, ATV's. This was found in a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Over thirty percent of the riders killed were under the age of sixteen.
In 2007, an estimated 15,147 lives were saved from seat belt use. Seat belts save five times more lives than airbags, according to statistics released by NHTSA. Seat belt use has increased over the years, due to cultural trends, and possibly due to the enactment of seat belt use laws. Seat belt systems do not always function as predicted. Seat belt systems can fail during a collision, often resulting in serious injury or death to the vehicle occupant.
Farming is a dangerous occupation. Tractor rollover accidents have been killing people since the 1920's. In 1990, the National Safety Council estimated 460 people were killed while operating tractors. Tractor rollover caused 239 of these fatalities. Another estimate suggests a more conservative number of annual fatalities - 132, that are the result of tractor rollover accidents. In a four-year period in Pennsylvania alone, 72 people died as a result of tractor rollover accidents.
Automobile collisions result in damage to property and injuries to people. Compensation is sought through insurance claims, law suits, and product liability claims. Knowing when injuries are more or less severe than is warranted by the damage level involved in the collision is important information. This can help people involved on both sides of litigation or settlements.
Warning labels are an indelible part of our society. Warning labels are everywhere - on our food, on our drinks, on our sweeteners, on our cars, on our tools, on our cigarettes. As consumers we are constantly barraged with multitudes of warnings, cautions, don't do this's, don't do that's.
Safety Engineering Resources has had the opportunity to learn a great deal about using fiberglass in structural applications, which are simply applications that must support some sort of load. Using fiberglass as a structural material was brought about by the advances made by organic chemists in recent decades in the field of plastics.
Structural failures of buildings range from catastrophic building failures involving mass loss of life and/or property to structural problems such as sagging floors or ceilings, leaning walls, cracking or sinking foundations.
Golf cart accident frequency has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. A study by Watson, Mehan, Smith, and McKenzie (Golf Cart-Related Injuries in the U.S., American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2008) of NEISS data found 147,696 people were treated in emergency rooms for golf cart accidents between 1990 and 2006.
Knowing when a personal injury case is due to the action or inaction of another party, or when responsibility falls fully on the injured party, can be a difficult distinction to make. At Mechanical and Safety Engineering, we have been investigating personal injury cases for decades.
Marc H. Richman, ScD, PE, has been actively engaged in Forensic and Consulting Engineering for over 45 years. He has personally supervised and conducted over 3,000 investigations for individuals, attorneys, insurance carriers, industrial firms, state and federal agencies and commission, and police and fire departments.
Dr. Richman's educational background at MIT was physical metallurgy and failure analysis. He taught as an instructor at MIT and ran the analytical Metallography laboratory there as well as set up the electron microscopy laboratory at MIT. At Brown, he was director of the Central Electron Microscopy Lab and was very active in Failure Analysis and Fractography as well as Analytical Metallography.
Dr. Richman has investigated failures of offshore drilling rigs and propeller shaft failures(Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding), helicopter crashes on the Pan Am building and at Newark Airport (NY Airways and Lloyds of London), construction elevator failures (Gilbane Construction and Aetna), bridge failures (Mystic River Bridge upper deck - MassPort Authority), hydroelectric plant shaft failures (McCallum Enterprises), pressure vessel and machinery failures, military equipment and weapons failures, building failures and collapses (US Navy and others), and steel mill production (Italy).
Litigation Support - Marc H. Richman has testified for both plaintiff and defense in about 175 trials in civil and criminal courts. He has served as Technical Advisor to the US District Court (RI) on patent cases (Hon. Raymond Pettine) and has been a consultant for the US Naval Applied Science Laboratory, the US Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center, Battelle, Texas Instruments, etc.).
Dr. Richman has provided expert testimony from product malfunctions, to fatal car accidents, to peeling paint on the Pell Bridge, to the Pan Am Building helicopter crash, to water and gas main failures, to metallurgical examinations of murder weapons.
LECS (UK) Limited is an International Engineering Firm specializing in Lifts, Escalators, Facade Access and Funiculars (cable cars). With over 20 years of trading history, their specialized engineers are qualified, experienced and carry full professional insurances. Members of the engineering team have all worked for major contractors and have held positions including Senior Engineer, Project Manager and Commissioning / Test Engineers. As a result, LECS has over 150 years of accumulated experience within the key staff of the engineering team and currently employs 10% of the world’s graduates of the MSc in Lift Engineering from the University of Northampton.
LECS (UK) Limited is a member of independent bodies such as ACE, BSI and ConstructionLine. They have an accredited Quality Assurance scheme to ISO 9001 (2008) and are regularly audited. They provide services for many market sectors including overseas projects, hotels, retail, commercial health, local authority and heritage. The engineers at LECS (UK) have extensive experience as Expert Witnesses and Consultants in litigation involving lifts and escalators. Their services include preparing expert reports in accordance with Regulation 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules and also in Criminal cases. They are also available for adjudication and arbitration cases. LECS (UK) expert witness services have been called on in overseas situations including Gran Canaria, Dubai, Hong Kong, Spain and Turkey.
Frederick Heath has over 40 years personal experience in management, consulting and expert services in the fields of design, manufacturing, testing of hydraulic, pneumatic and electro-mechanical lifting and load bearing machines, equipment and devices.
Industry Experience includes automotive, construction, industrial, material handling, warehousing and transportation.
Forensic Engineering includes product liability, accident investigation, reconstruction and expert testimony,
Incidents involves industrial trucks, aerial work platforms, forklifts, telehandlers, tuggers, pallet jacks, automatic storage and retrieval systems, dock boards, dock levelers, trailer restraints, trailer jacks, racks, conveyors, overhead bridge cranes, trucks, shop cranes, scissors lifts, shop cranes, automatic doors and lift gates.
Heavy Equipment involves telehandlers, powered industrial trucks, automatic storage and retrieval systems, gantry cranes, truck cranes, tower cranes, cranes with hydraulic booms, cranes with lattice booms, grapple and magnet equipped excavators, and side boom cranes.
Conformity issues involves environmental, health and safety, warnings, instructions, training conformity with recognized standards, codes, industry practices and government regulations.