Expertly Speaking

Aquatic Safety Expert High Dive

Where Have All the High Dives Gone? 2018 Update

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

For the past quarter century, high diving boards (3-meters; ten feet) have been disappearing from public and private swimming pools across the country. This swimming pool staple, which so many middle aged and older Americans learned to love while they were children, is no longer available for their children and grandchildren.

Statistics indicate that springboard diving is a very safe sport. That is because the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), USA diving and many other water safety agencies have safety training programs for their coaches and follow strict depth and distance requirements to provide safe “diving envelopes” in the water for divers/jumpers. So what’s the problem?

Far too many three-meter (high dives) were placed in recreational settings without the assistance of qualified coaches and springboard diving agencies. Consequently, numerous falls to unprotected concrete decks below have occurred around the country resulting in death or paralysis. Hence, high dives are quickly becoming dinosaurs.

continue reading

Slippery Surface Sidelines Contractor

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

Case Description/Summary: A painting contractor (plaintiff) was walking down an exterior home walkway after dropping off a quote for work requested by the homeowner. It just started raining, so the plaintiff decided to take a different route back to his parked car when he tripped and fell over an unguarded retaining wall. As a consequence of his trip and fall, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries. No guardrail had been present at the incident location, which could have prevented his four-foot fall. It had been dark and raining and the adjacent exterior home lighting was not turned on.

Expert Analysis: The plaintiff stated that he was walking on a flagstone walkway back to his vehicle, which was a different route from the one he used to get onto the incident property. He originally used a concrete sidewalk that bordered the large corner lot property to get to the front door of the house. Since it had started raining heavily just after he got to the porch, he decided to take the alternate flagstone side walkway as a shortcut back to his car. Just when he rounded the side of the house’s porch, he tripped over the edge of an unlighted and unguarded stone retaining wall and fell four feet to a concrete driveway below. The incident caused severe permanent injuries to the plaintiff.
The defendant’s expert argued that the property was constructed prior to the adoption of the building codes which required guardrails at every open walking surface that was 30 inches or more than adjacent lower surfaces, and hence it was “grandfathered” from compliance. He also argued that the flagstone pathway was not a “pathway” or even intended to be used as a walkway – but was in place solely for reason of erosion control of the sloped ground there.

continue reading
Osha Expert Witness

Hear Today; Gone Tomorrow

Steven D. High, MPH, MS, CIH, CSP, ARM, CHST, CXLT, Safety & Health / OSHA Expert ::::

Case Synopsis: A 57-year-old manufacturing employee who worked in a Pennsylvania assembly plant for 27½ years filed a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss. The worker clearly had hearing loss based on the most recent audiogram data; however, hearing loss was also present in his initial audiogram when he started with the company many years ago. The employee worked in a paint department for the past 17 years of his employment.

The company had a progressive hearing conservation program which included periodic measurement of workplace noise by dosimetry, including areas that were traditionally quiet such as the paint department. Dosimetry measurements are preferred over basic sound level readings as they average direct noise exposures of an individual worker throughout a monitored working period.

The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law defines hazardous noise by referring to OSHA’s regulation on hearing conservation. The term “hazardous occupational noise,” as used in this act, means noise levels exceeding permissible noise exposures as defined in Table G-16 of OSHA Occupational Noise Exposure Standards, 29 CFR 1910.95 (July 1, 1994 – Section 105.4). This noise survey data confirmed that hazardous noise was not present in the workers’ assigned work area.

continue reading
Following too close

Following Too Closely – Not Always as Straightforward as it May Seem

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

All states have a provision within their respective Vehicle Code pertaining to “following too closely” which states, in general, that “the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”(1) Whenever a rear-end impact occurs, the investigating police officer will typically list “following too closely” as a contributing factor; however, not all drivers that rear-end another vehicle are keeping an unsafe following distance (a.k.a. headway) or are following “more closely than is reasonable and prudent” having due regard for the speed of the vehicles on the highway.

Most states recommend a 3 to 4-second “following distance rule” within their driver’s manual. This rule generally provides for sufficient distance to bring a vehicle to a stop in most driving situations; however, the rule is not conducive for drivers on congested highways where keeping such a distance would allow other vehicles to “cut in line” and effectively reduce safety by increasing the number of potential vehicular conflicts. It is often argued that the following distance rule is rarely observed in practice. Support for this argument is found in the review of the attached Google Earth™ aerial image of I-95 in Philadelphia, PA which illustrates that the majority of drivers within this image are accepting a following distance of 100 feet or less, with an average time headway (assuming the vehicle are traveling at the 55-mph speed limit) of about 1 second. A headway equivalent to 1 second is consistent with published research data on “real world” typical time headways. (2) The acceptance of a reduced headway suggests that drivers are “reading the road” assessing the state of traffic as a whole and not just focusing on the vehicle directly in front of them.

continue reading
Ford F150 Recall

Industry Update: Ford Motor Company is Recalling Over 2 Million F-150 Pick-Up Trucks

Ford Motor Company is recalling over 2 million F-150 pick-up trucks manufactured between 2015 and 2018 due to potential post-crash fires. According to documents provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford has determined that a defect exists that may allow combustible materials located near the front seatbelt pretensioners to ignite during a crash.

Located at the base of the left and right B pillars, the F-150 seatbelt pretensioners contain pyrotechnic devices that deploy during the earliest stages of certain frontal collisions and rollover events. Their purpose is to remove slack within the seatbelt, drawing it tight against an occupant’s body to help minimize forward movement as the crash develops. This deployment, according to Ford’s investigation, may generate sparks that can ignite nearby combustible materials such as insulation and wiring harness tape.

continue reading
Child Seat Expert Witness

Industry Update: Latest Recommendation for Children in Child Seats

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published an updated policy statement regarding the transportation of children in vehicles. AAP now recommends children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest rear-facing weight or height allowed by their child seat. Prior to this latest change, AAP recommended children should remain rear-facing until age 2. This change has resulted in confusion for parents that can be seen in social media comments and responses. These comments question if rear-facing is safer, the ability to fit a child seat for a larger child in cars, where the larger children will put their legs and when it is OK to turn a child forward facing. AAP’s recommendations are aimed at increasing the safety of children being transported and are supported by the science of occupant protection. Simply stated, we would all be safer if we could ride rear-facing, be in on a plane, train or automobile.

continue reading
1 2 3 4 5 85

Do You Need Help Finding the Right Expert for Your Case?