Spectator Injured by Goal Post

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Daniel M. Honig, P.E. ::::

Case Synopsis: Plaintiff sustained an injury when a portable temporary goal post was blown over, as the result of wind loading, and struck the plaintiff. The goal post was not sufficiently designed and tested to provide a properly balanced and stable load distribution throughout. As a result, the goal post was subject to an overturning incident during moderate to high wind events. At the time of the incident, the goal post was being stored in its upright position adjacent to athletic activities which the plaintiff was attending.

Expert Analysis: The manufacturer failed to instruct the owner against making alterations to the goal post system and failed to inform the owner of the propensity to tip over and fall during strong wind gusts. Review of documentation confirmed the goal post had been incorrectly analyzed by an engineering firm employed by the manufacturer to evaluate blow-over risk. In addition to the improper design of the portable goal post, the owners/users failed to properly store it in a secure reclined position when not in use. The owner failed to recognize that the goal post was unstable in high wind gusts. Engineering calculations revealed that a wind speed of only 36mph would cause the goal post to tip over. This calculation was 20mph less than that determined by the engineering firm employed by the manufacturer.

Result: Expert was able to determine that the goal post did not include sufficient counter-weight or counter-balancing to resist overturning in wind gusts, that the manufacturer should have provided warnings regarding this risk, and that the owner should have been aware of the safety hazard inherent in leaving the goal post upright in windy conditions.

 

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