Expertly Speaking


Trampoline Standards

Alan R. Caskey, Ph.D., Recreation and Parks Safety Consultant ::::

The A.S.T.M. Standard for trampolines was adopted in 1974. The ASTM 381-16 trampoline standard was used by schools, community recreational centers, numerous youth groups, and private organizations.

Untrained and unsupervised use of these trampolines led to the numerous paralyzing neck injuries with various medical groups editorializing the need to remove existing trampolines and ban all sales of home or recreational trampolines in the United States. (American Academy of Pediatrics, May 19, 1979)

The number of injuries (50,000) (based on a hospital study in 1995), reflects the severity of safety concerns to children less than 15 years old. Various medical and professional groups called for the banning of trampolines resulting in no more sales of new trampolines, no insuring of existing trampolines, and removal of trampolines from a public agency (parks, schools, institutions).

Trampoline manufacturers retained a consulting firm to conduct a study of trampoline injuries and develop a working program to keep trampoline sales allowed in the United States. The consulting firm presented their study of trampoline injuries to A.S.T.M Committee F-8 and the U. S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. (Failure Analysis Associates, Inc., Analysis of Issues Associated with Trampolines, December 10, 1997)

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But Wait, There’s More!

Laurence R. Penn, Senior Forensic Animation/Video Specialist ::::

DJS Associates was recently contacted to enhance multiple pieces of digital audio-visual evidence for a homicide case in Pennsylvania. The lengthy, multi-angled surveillance video footage was edited down to only show the crucial events surrounding the murder. Audio in other video evidence was processed to provide clarity to otherwise quiet and muffled speech.

One piece of evidence, an audio file which was claimed to be extremely crucial to the case, proved to be much more. Upon review of the file, it was found to contain both audio AND video. The client was unaware the file contained actual video footage, perhaps believing it to be lost during recording or transmission. The audio alone was likely enough to prove the client’s case, but the video that was uncovered showed an important individual involved in the matter, making the client’s case undeniable.

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Motorcycle Blindness

Inattentional Blindness

Robert T. Lynch, PE, Senior Collision Reconstruction Engineer ::::

A person’s failure to notice an unexpected object located in plain sight is known as inattentional blindness. This phenomenon, rooted in the way the human brain processes (or fails to process) information, provides a framework to understand the looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) crashes commonly associated with motorcycle collisions. LBFTS crashes are particularly troublesome because, despite clear conditions and the lack of other hazards or distractions, drivers will look in the direction of the oncoming motorcycle but still pull into its path. The brain must deal with a huge amount of sensory information during the driving task and cannot attend to everything due to the limitations of time and cognitive resources. The brain needs to decide what information is most important. The frequency of LBFTS crashes suggests that there is a connection with how the brain filters out information as motorcycles fall lower on the priority list for driving.

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Trip and Fall on Subway Stairs

Bryan J. Smith, PE, Construction Site Safety/Slip & Fall/OSHA Consultant ::::

Case Description/Summary: A subway station pedestrian (plaintiff) was walking up the stairs from the lower platform to the main station. As she approached the first of two mid-flight landings, she tripped and fell due to unknown reasons. Her fall caused her to break her leg.

Expert Analysis: The plaintiff stated that she had previously used the incident stairs, and that they were unusually dimly lit. The subway operators rarely assigned any transit cars to the platform served by the incident stairs. One day prior to the incident, the station’s maintenance department received a service call for drywall falling from the ceiling over the stairs. This was the only service performed on the stairs for the one-year period preceding the incident, and it evidenced that the stairway was able to reach the deteriorated condition due to either inadequate and/or incompetent maintenance management.

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Young girl drowns at Family Aquatic Center

Tom J. Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatics / Water Safety Expert ::::

A family aquatic center differs from a traditional rectangular swimming pool catering to lap swimmers and swim teams in that it has something for everyone of all ages: fountains, water slides, interactive water toys, and more while still maintaining a competition swimming pool.

In this tragic case a young girl drowned while playing in the shallow water “beach” section of the swimming pool. This case was somewhat unusual in that the 10-year-old girl was actually a fairly good swimmer. At the time of the incident, the young girl was playing with an adult supervisor and other children in waist deep water. At the same time, the aquatic facility was in transition, preparing for a competitive swim meet with parents and swimmers filing into the facility. The competition pool adjacent to the leisure pool was closed to all swimmers prior to the swim meet, while the leisure pool remained open to recreational swimmers and parents. The entire tragic scenario was caught on security camera footage.

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Roof Damage

Winter Storm and the Roof Collapse

Steven Wistar, Senior Forensic Meteorologist ::::

CASE SYNOPSIS: The roof of a large industrial warehouse collapsed during a winter storm that was the third in a series of major snow and ice events at that location. After assessing the cost of the damage and the cost to repair the structure, the owners of the building filed suit against the company that manufactured the prefabricated metal building, claiming that the design of the support members of the roof did not properly take into consideration the weight that can occur during winter snow load buildup. Plaintiffs also included the contractors who assembled the building in the lawsuit, claiming that the full complement of bracing of the rafters and roof trusses was not installed during the erection of the building.

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