Catherine Witt specializes in Temporary Traffic Patterns during construction operations, maintenance operations, utility operations, and special events. Any time the motorist traffic pattern is changed there are specific requirements. Ms. Witt and her team are familiar with the requirements on a national level, in all 50 states, the state specific requirements and job site specific based on contracts.
Experience: Ms. Witt and her team have a total over 100 years experience in the Traffic Safety Industry. She has trained over 20,000 construction, maintenance, utility and law enforcement workers in the requirements nation wide and started out doing installation over 25 years ago. Ms. Witt then worked for the City of Overland Park, KS doing design, plan review, special events and in house training.
Catherine Witt provides litigation consulting and expert witness services for legal cases involving fatalities, catastrophic injuries, personal injuries, and workplace safety. She has expertise in Work zone safety and OSHA regulations for construction, utilities, special events, emergency response and maintenance. Ms. Witt's expert witness services are available to attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defense.
Peter R. Walsh, PE, is a Licensed Professional Electrical Engineer with over 35 years of experience. He is an NFPA 70E Certified “Electrical Safety Compliance Professional” and OSHA “Authorized Trainer” for General Industry Training.
Background - Mr. Walsh joined General Electric Company early in his career as a Field Engineer. Since then, he has seen many electrical incidents in a variety of roles and companies. He began his forensic career with GE supplying analyses to their legal team. He has forensically investigated incidents in the proximity of electrical equipment, such as fuses, and provided application assistance for a total of 20 years with the largest fuse companies.
Mr. Walsh has applied electrical products in accordance with National Electrical Code, OSHA regulations, IEEE Standards, and good practices. He has provided technical leadership to electrical industry codes and standards organizations. Presently he is a member of Code Making Panel 10 of the National Electrical Code, which is responsible for Overcurrent and Service Protection. His first appointment to the National Electrical Code was for the 2008 code cycle.
Mr. Walsh served on other NFPA technical committees such as 110 and 111 and participated in meetings with NFPA 70E committees. NFPA recognizes him as a Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional. Within IEEE, he has served this Standards Organization enough to obtain Lifetime Membership. He has written numerous articles about arc flash, arc flash calculations, surge arrestors, and general electrical industry equipment.
Litigation Support - Mr. Walsh provides expert witness services for cases involving Electrical Safety. His services are available to attorneys representing plaintiff and defendant and include site review, thorough reports, depositions, and trial testimony when needed. OSHA recognizes Mr. Walsh as an “Authorized Trainer” for General Industry. He trains electrical maintenance people in latest Safety Standards- NFPA 70E, OSHA General Industry, and the National Electrical Code.
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 is licensed 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.
Paul Gantt is a Safety Engineer with more than 35 years experience in the fields of regulatory compliance, premises liabiliity, the development and delivery of workplace safety programs and systems,
After serving in the Fire Service as Chief Officer, Dr. Gantt founded Safety Compliance Management. He is the Pesident, and is Principal of a team legal expert. He is a Board Certified Safety Professional CSP), Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT), and a Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST).
Dr. Gantt has authored two textbooks and numerous articles in his field of work. He is a frequent speaker at national safety conferences, such as the National Safety Council and the American Society of Safety Engineers/Professionals.
Litigation Support - Mr. Gantt has considerable legal experience in the areas of:
Multi-Employer Worksites – General Industry and Construction
All the regulatory requirements associated with the handling, cleanup, and storage of hazardous materials (HAZWOPER) are brought together in this second edition. Comprehensive and current to the latest standards and technology, this new edition includes expanded regulations for dealing with an intentional release of a hazardous material in a terrorist incident, as well as pre-emergency plans for hazardous materials operations and response programs needed to effectively deal with natural disasters.
OSHA Safety Construction Expert Witness Greg Gerganoff
Greg Gerganoff, CSP, Esq., possesses extensive experience in safety compliance and practice involving OSHA and MSHA. He obtained is law degree from Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School and practiced general civil law for approximately 12 years in Colorado prior to entering the safety profession. He earned a Certified Safety Professional certification and has 18 years of field safety experience in mining, oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, power plant outages, and light rail construction.
An Authorized Outreach Trainer for OSHA General Industry.
A PEC Safeland Basic and Core instructor (Oil and gas).
An MSHA Approved Instructor (Blue Card) for Surface, Metal/nonmetal.
A member of the American Society of Safety Professionals.
His professional safety experience includes OSHA / MSHA Safety field work and compliance with experience in the heavy construction, manufacturing, light rail construction, power plant outages, public schools, oil and gas, mining, pipeline, and trenching and excavation industries.
Litigation Support: Mr. Gerganoff assists with discovery questions regarding safety matters. Safety opinions based upon statutory, administrative, judicial rulings and related industry association safety policies ancillary to OSHA and MSHA. Mr. Gerganoff is retained by attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defendant.
Some of the subject matter litigation he has handled include:
Hazard recognition plays a vital role in keeping employees safe. Some hazards are easily recognized, for example an employee climbing up a 20-ft ladder while holding tools in both hands is an obvious fall hazard. While some safety hazards are immediately recognizable, others require training to spot and avoid. One such hazard is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Training is a key method to avoid the "ostrich zone." You do not want to bury your head when facing this hazard.
When personal injury events occur legal negligence actions may arise. Common law negligence is established by plaintiff showing defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty, to conform to a standard of care, defendant breached that duty, plaintiff suffered injury and there is a causal relationship between the breach and injury.
Lawyers and courts turn to expert witnesses to provide triers of fact with explanations of aspects of a case that are not commonly known. It is the subject matter expert's education, experience, and skill in a particular area that will help the triers of fact to reach a well-informed conclusion/decision. Examples of expert witnesses include medical doctors, accountants, engineers, DNA scientists, and more. Lawyers (and the courts) will employ an expert witness to shed more light upon factual issues for the purpose of discerning the truth. In short, expert witnesses educate, clarify, and explain a subject that is not common knowledge for most people.
The employ of expert witnesses in litigation is typically undertaken to help the decider of fact (judge or jury) decipher an area of specialized knowledge which is key to the case. The expert report serves the primary purpose of "educating" deciders of fact on topics not commonly known to the general public. However, a noncomplying expert report can wreak havoc on a case, increase costs or worse, have the expert's testimony precluded in whole or part from use at trial. This of course is contrary to the purpose of retaining an expert in the first place. Understanding the parameters of compliance (C.R.C.P. 26 (a) (2) (B) (I)) and how sanctions for non-compliance (C.R.C.P. 37 (c) (1)) may be applied is important not only for legal counsel but the expert as well under the 2015 rule updates and the recent Colorado Supreme Court case, Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado v. Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.
During a recent conversation with a friend who had purchased a small construction company he mentioned in passing that one of his employees had injured his ankle on the job but didn't report it to his work comp carrier as it was a minor incident, no days off work, didn't want his rates to go up, why bother. All is good. Right?
Electricity is a vital source of energy in our daily lives. It powers tools, provides light and heat. Our working lives are much improved and efficiency greatly increased thanks to electricity. But what about those situations where power from the grid is unavailable. Well, portable generators are an excellent tool for such a scenario.
Safety culture is a term frequently bandied about in today's business world and sounds as trendy as "mission statements" were years ago. (Let's not forget "best in class". First time I heard this at a company meeting I looked around to make sure I hadn't mistakenly wandered into a dog show. Really?)
Use fall protection; Use trench boxes when excavating; Lock out Tag Out any time repair or maintenance of equipment involving stored energy is performed; Slips, Trips and Falls are one of the most expensive types of injury. For my sixteen years in safety these safety hazards were always in the forefront of safety concerns for businesses and safety professionals. Guess what? Work related road way crashes is the number one serious/fatal injury cause for U.S. workers. OSHA recognizes this. CDC/NIOSH has generated a white paper studying this fact. Who knew? So here is some info on this number one safety hazard in the US work place.
In the safety world hazard recognition plays a vital role in keeping your people safe from unsafe behaviors and/or conditions. Some hazards are easily recognized, for example an employee climbing up a 20 foot ladder with tools held in both hands. (This is a fall hazard by the way.) Common sense right? The safety guy who taught me safety had a great response to this attitude, "Few people have any sense (read knowledge) in common (read shared alike)". So while some safety hazards are immediately recognizable others require training to spot and avoid. Training is a key method in avoiding the "Ostrich Zone". One such hazard is Hydrogen Sulfide. You don't want to bury your head facing this hazard. (Won't do much good anyway, Hydrogen Sulfide is heavier then air!)
"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.", so said Laurence J. Peter, a professor at the University of Southern California whose works touched the business world. (He is well known for the "Peter Principal".) Peter's above quote essentially points out that action lacking a clear objective will likely lead to unwanted or unintended consequences.
Hazard recognition plays a vital role in keeping employees safe. Some hazards are easily recognized, for example an employee climbing up a 20-ft ladder while holding tools in both hands is an obvious fall hazard. While some safety hazards are immediately recognizable, others require training to spot and avoid. One such hazard is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Training is a key method to avoid the "ostrich zone." You do not want to bury your head when facing this hazard.
When personal injury events occur legal negligence actions may arise. Common law negligence is established by plaintiff showing defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty, to conform to a standard of care, defendant breached that duty, plaintiff suffered injury and there is a causal relationship between the breach and injury. FN 1 But what sources of standard of care proofs are available? How does a litigant go about proving standard of care?
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.
With real world, hands on international experience, Rauch Safety & Engineering offers:
The Rendering of Independent Expert Opinion
Strategic Advice to Attorneys and Clients Concerning Technical Issues
Project and Human Factors and related Negligence and Incompetence
Principal Areas of Specialization Include:
Auditing Evaluation of Corporate Fall Protection Programs / Confined Space Programs
Risk Analysis Training
Infrastructure Access Observation Program (IAOP trade;)
Structural & Facade Maintenance
OSHA / International / Consensus Standards and Recommendations from other Professional Organizations
Building Maintenance Units (BMU)
Human Factors Engineering
Ladders & Scaffolds
Horizontal / Vertical Lifelines
Walking & Working Surfaces
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
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 holds a doctorate in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech. A member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Dr. Purswell served as the past Chair of the Industrial Engineers PE exam from 2005 to 2009. He continues to serve on the committee which is responsible for the preparation of the national professional engineering examination in industrial engineering.
Dr. Purswell is the author of more than 20 publications and presentations on Product Safety, Occupational Safety, Printed Warnings, and Auditory Warnings. Examples of products addressed include silica, asbestos, cleaning chemicals, gasoline containers, and recreational equipment. Dr. Purswell maintains NIST-calibrated equipment for the measurement of light, sound, force, and whole-body and hand-arm vibration in addition to standard photo and video equipment.
Dr. Purswell has been an Expert Witness in the legal industry since 1997. He has been qualified as an expert in state and federal courts across the nation in safety engineering, including safety analysis techniques such as Fault Tree Analysis and FMEA as well as product warnings / instructions and OSHA compliance issues. Dr. Purswell's services include site inspections, document review, drafting Rule 26-compliant reports, deposition, and trial testimony. He has been retained by attorneys for both Plaintiff (40%) and Defense (60%) more than 100 times, has been deposed approximately 50 times, and has testified at trial over 20 times.
Areas of Expertise:
Warning and Safety Instructions
Chemical Accident Prevention
Lockout / Tagout & Machine Guarding
Trucks and Forklift Accidents
Power Tools Safety
Hazard Communication - Audible Alarms
Employer Safety Training and Supervision
Perception / Reaction Time
Ergonomic Work Practices
Working and Walking Surfaces - Slip, Trip and Fall
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, 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.
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 and territories of the United States, 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.
Litigation Support - Mr. Peterson provides consulting services to attorneys, insurance companies, and businesses preparing for litigation arising from either 1) construction disputes or 2) safety issues that have resulted in worker injury or death. His services are offered as a subject matter expert, expert witness, and safety consultant. Mr. Peterson also serves as an arbitrator through the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
Paul Chen is a Consumer Product (Non-Food) Safety, Regulatory and Retail Compliance, Quality Assurance and control, 3rd party lab testing / inspection / auditing, CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), Federal / State / Local law compliance consultant and expert. He is on-call 24/7 and speaks Chinese fluently.
Background - Mr. Chen has over 17 years of experience in the Consumer Products Industry, most recently for the Product Safety & Compliance division at Walmart Stores, Inc. He was responsible for managing the regulatory compliance testing and auditing programs / policies / procedures / protocols / practices for general merchandise (non-food) items offered for sale in the Walmart, Walmart.com, Sam's Club, samsclub.com, and Puerto Rico formats. This included direct import, domestic, private label, supplier and national brand items in 20+ departments/categories.
In addition to being employed with the world's largest retailer (and company), Mr. Chen was also previously employed with Intertek, a global 3rd party test lab and QA/QC service provider and various consumer product companies, importers and manufacturers.
Litigation Support - Mr. Chen serves as an expert witness for attorneys representing plaintiff and defendant. His services include review, inspection, consultation, thorough reporting, depositions and trial testimony, as needed. Mr. Chen has experience in the following consumer products areas in various capacities:
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. Larry was formerly the Executive Director of the Crane Certification Association of America and is currently on the ASME/ANSI B30.2 Overhead and Gantry Cranes Committee.
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).
Larry speaks on crane safety, crane inspection and runway design. In the last year he has spoke to, AIST (American Institute of Steel Technology), CCAA (Crane Certification Association of America), CMAA (Crane Manufacturers Association of America) and FEWA (Forensic Expert Witness Association).
D. Larry Dunville's Video Introduction
Litigation Support - Larry Dunville offers expert witness services in crane cases involving industrial, manufacturing, and warehousing facilities, as well and power plants. His expertise is available to counsel representing both Plaintiff and Defendant.
Areas of Expertise:
Overhead Traveling cranes
Electric Overhead Traveling Cranes
Overhead Bridge Cranes
Crane Operator Training
Crane Runway Installation
OSHA Crane Inspections
Corporate Crane Safety Programs
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. is a Mechanical Engineer who provides general Mechanical and Structural Engineering expertise. Mechanical and Safety Engineering (MASE) provides full service analysis and accident reconstruction of products involved in accidents.
Mr. Ryan's services have been requested for attorneys and insurance companies needing forensic engineering expert witness testimony to determine whether machinery and products involved in injury cases were adequately designed or whether they have a Design, Manufacturing, or Material Defect. All products are lab-tested on site to determine adherence to industry standards and engineering design protocol. Alternate preventative designs are developed when none exist commercially.
Mr. Ryan is available for both Plaintiff and Defense, depending on the individual case. His services include producing high quality reports and visual aids in the courtroom such as scale models to help explain accident scenarios and alternate designs to judges and juries.
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.
Long International provides expert engineering and construction claims analysis, expert testimony, project management consulting, and insurance claims analysis services. Our focus is on heavy industrial projects including oil and gas, petroleum refining, petrochemical, chemical, mining/mineral processing, power, cogeneration, and other industrial projects. We analyze claims, not limited to, disputed change orders, schedule delay, acceleration, time extensions, liquidated damages, loss of productivity, defective specifications, and deficient project management performance.
Richard J. Long, P.E., P.Eng., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Long International, has over 50 years of U.S. and international consulting experience involving construction contract disputes analysis and resolution, arbitration/litigation support and expert testimony, project management, engineering/construction management, cost and schedule control, and process engineering. As an internationally recognized expert in the analysis and resolution of complex construction disputes for over 35 years, Mr. Long has served as the lead expert on over 300 projects having claims ranging in size from US$100,000 to over US$2 billion. He has presented and published numerous articles on claims analysis, entitlement issues, CPM schedule and damages analyses, cumulative impact claims, and claims prevention.
Rod C. Carter, CCP, PSP is President of Long International and has over 20 years of experience in construction project controls, contract disputes and resolution, negotiations, mediation, arbitration support, and expert testimony on scheduling, loss of productivity, and quantum issues. He has experience in entitlement, schedule, and damages analyses on over 30 construction disputes ranging in value from US$100,000 to US$7 billion, related to oil and gas, oil refinery, LNG, heavy civil, nuclear, environmental, chemical, power, industrial, commercial, and residential construction projects. Mr. Carter is proficient in the use of Primavera P6 and P3 software, and he has extensive experience in assessing the impact to engineering and construction works of RFIs, change orders and other events. Mr. Carter specializes in loss of productivity, cumulative impact, and quantum calculations, and had a lead role in assessing damages on more than a dozen major disputes. In addition, Mr. Carter has developed cost and schedule risk analysis models using Monte Carlo simulations to address the uncertainty of estimates and claims.
Michael J. Vallez, P.E., MBA, LEAN SIX SIGMA is a Senior Principal with Long International and has over 40 years of hands-on and leadership experience in project management, engineering/construction management, cost and schedule control, change management, claims, and dispute resolution. He has served in executive management roles for both the owner and contractor working on world-class oil and gas, power, and international mining projects. Mr. Vallez has a proven ability to organize, integrate and manage the work of multi-disciplined technical specialists and project construction teams to achieve corporate financial goals and objectives of return on investment, safety, operational performance, cost, and time. In all, he has provided leadership on several billion dollars’ worth of projects in the chemical, heavy civil, mining, power, oil and gas, industrial, and commercial sectors. Mr. Vallez has written several books on the subjects of construction management, safety, and effective project leadership.
Most construction contracts require written notice for changes, differing site conditions, extra work, or other events which may affect the contractor’s time and cost of performance. The process of giving “notice” is vital to triggering the contract mechanisms that allow the contractor to pursue additional time and cost and to reserve its rights to recover for any unforeseen...
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the internal and external project execution environments. The pandemic has caused impacts of varying degrees to nearly every aspect of projects involving the activity of people. Ordinary practices in the creation of project documentation are robust and are utilized to support the analysis of construction claims. Although project productivity losses may be demonstrable, providing compelling evidence and proof that the losses were caused by the pandemic may not be as easy to demonstrate.
An As-Built But-For Schedule Delay Analysis (ABBF) is a retrospective CPM schedule delay analysis technique that determines the earliest date that the required mechanical completion activity, project completion activity, or various milestone activities could have been achieved but-for the owner-caused compensable delays that occurred during the project.
Contractor’s claim submittals and expert reports are often deficient in proving causation, i.e., the cause-effect linkage. These claims generally outline the owner-caused impacts and separately calculate quantum; however, the two are often not linked in any meaningful way. Most claims are settled prior to a decision by a panel, court, or board, and therefore these deficiencies are not made apparent. Yet, a well-prepared claim document which includes a persuasive and accurate causeeffect analysis can greatly improve the contractor’s chances of a successful recovery, either through negotiations or in arbitration/litigation. This analysis is difficult and often costly to prepare, and is therefore not performed in many disputes, which may be the reason why the claims fail.
The leader of a corporation or project is the individual who must ultimately be willing to take responsibility for results. Within the context of an organization or team made up of individuals, it is the collective performance of the individuals, as a team, that defines the results of the whole. While it can be said that the best motivation is internal motivation as opposed to external motivation, the leader is ultimately the one responsible for creating the conditions where motivation can thrive.
Time is money especially on engineering and construction projects. Because delays in the completion of the project usually result in increased owner, engineer, and contractor costs, the overall time of performance is vital to the financial success of the project. The importance of time is evidenced by the significant role played by CPM schedules, completion dates, and milestones in the bidding and awarding of engineering and construction contracts. The desire to minimize costs and the time of performance often causes the occurrence of acceleration.
In the construction industry, it is largely agreed that overtime work adversely affects labor productivity. However, there is no universally accepted method for estimating the resulting loss of productivity, and many of the studies commonly used to estimate such losses have been subject to criticism by industry experts and the courts.
The Collapsed As-Built Windows Schedule Analysis (AACE® International Recommended Practice 29R-03, Method Implementation Protocol 3.9) is a modeled, subtractive, multiple-base method. It is a retrospective CPM schedule analysis which is typically used to prove entitlement for compensable delay and assess concurrency of delay within a window of time. The analysis simulates the as-built conditions within a schedule window and then delays are removed from the CPM model. If the forecasted project finish date “collapses” but-for or absent compensable delays, then entitlement for compensable time-related costs can be demonstrated. This article addresses the usage of the Collapsed As-Built Windows protocol and the advantages and disadvantages of the methodology.
The "discrete damages/cost variance analysis method" for quantifying construction claim damages involves the specific distribution of all costs incurred on the project rather than quantifying only certain parts of the cost or damage analysis as may be used in the other methods.
ABSTRACT - This paper provides guidelines to commercial construction cost engineers for the development of a plan for obtaining and utilizing subcontractor cost information for use in bidding, procurement, scheduling, change order management, and claim management. The paper is based upon personal field experience gained in cost engineering, scheduling, bidding, planning, contracting, and claim analyses.
A component of a construction claim often relates to the cost, quantity, and quality of the materials that the contractor installed on a project. The contractor frequently purchases these materials and agrees to install the quantities of materials on a unit price basis, i.e., a unit price that includes both the cost of the materials and the cost to install them.
Most construction contracts, whether they are standard or customized forms, usually contain specific provisions related expressly to the process of giving "notice." The notice generally refers to an obligation on the part of the Contractor to notify the relevant party administering the contract, normally the architect, resident engineer, or owner's representative, of a claim or change event that gives rise to possible additional entitlement for time and/or cost.
The equitable allocation of responsibility for project delays is essential to the resolution of many construction disputes. Contractors frequently assert that they have been delayed for reasons beyond their control. Owners often remain unconvinced that the Contractor is legitimately entitled to a time extension or delay, acceleration and loss of productivity damages.
Steven Pietropaolo, PE, CFEI, CFII, President & CEO, is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York, amongst others. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and a Certified Fire Investigator Instructor.
Mr. Pietropaolo has over 25 years of hands on engineering experience including electrical, mechanical, materials, safety, fire protection, and construction. He has knowledge of codes and standards used in construction and industry including building codes, safety codes, and industrial codes. He also has extensive experience in Utility Company procedures / equipment and investigating major incidents involving electrical, gas, steam system failures, and construction accidents.
Litigation Support - Mr. Pietropaolo has testified as an expert witness many times in cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Federal Courts. He has been retained on numerous large multimillion-dollar property damage cases as well as fatal accidents and fires / explosions including those that resulted in injury.
David R. Lenorovitz, PhD, CPE, Lenorovitz is a Board Certified Ergonomist / Human Factors Professional with over 50 years of experience in developing and applying knowledge regarding the ways in which human capabilities and limitations can materially effect a user's performance (i.e., success or failure) when interacting with a variety of products or equipment.
Dr. Lenorovitz has performed HF-related work evaluating, designing, developing, and testing user-interactive-systems for a wide range of industrial, governmental, and individual clients.
Litigation Support - Dr. Lenorovitz's forensic experience has included applying Human Factors scientific principles, preparing analysis reports, providing expert opinions, and testifying in cases involving: