Setting Boundaries: Construction Work Zone

construction code expert witness

Lt. Col. Bryan Smith, P.E., Construction Site Safety Consultant
Case Summary: A dump truck, which exited a construction zone after delivering a load of asphalt paving material, struck and killed a pedestrian. The construction firm that performed the parking lot repairs hired an expert to evaluate the incident location and determine if it was within a work zone and if so, whether certain motor vehicle/pedestrian precautions were necessary and/or enacted by the construction firm.
Expert Analysis: An evaluation of the incident location was made using Google Earth satellite photos. The Google Earth photos documented what work had been performed at the time of the incident, about one year and nine months earlier from the engagement of an expert. Continue reading “Setting Boundaries: Construction Work Zone”

Shattering Shower Door

Shower Door

Lt. Col. Bryan Smith, Construction Site Safety Consultant
Case Description: The plaintiff was exiting her relative’s home shower when the shower’s glass door shattered into pieces, and shredded her leg.
Expert Analysis: A field inspection was performed approximately three and a half years subsequent to the incident at the request of the homeowner’s insurance company, in order to determine if the plaintiff’s actions were negligent and causal to the incident. Photos and measurements were taken at that time and they evidenced that the shower enclosure door had been replaced in-kind prior to the site inspection. The moveable portion of the shower door was supported by two rollers on a horizontal rail. The rail had cushioned bump-stops at each end of travel.
As the shower user pushed the sliding door open or closed, with more force than necessary to reach the bump stops, the sudden cessation of travel when the roller hit the bump-stop caused the door to rotate in the upward direction. The design of the door hardware included a cam locking device, which was placed below the horizontal track to prevent the track rollers from jumping off the rail. The cam lock device was to be situated and adjusted such that it left a space narrower than the roller’s engagement of the track’s upper surface (see the space between the two yellow arrows). Continue reading “Shattering Shower Door”

Watch Where You Walk in A Construction Work Zone

dump-truck-accident-reconstruction

Lt. Col. Bryan Smith, Construction Site Safety Consultant ::::
Case Summary: A dump truck, which exited a construction zone after delivering a load of asphalt paving material, struck and killed a pedestrian. The construction firm that performed the parking lot repairs hired an expert to evaluate the incident location and determine if it was within a work zone and if so, whether certain motor vehicle/pedestrian precautions were necessary and/or enacted by the construction firm.
Expert Analysis: An evaluation of the incident location was made using Google Earth satellite photos. The Google Earth photos documented what work had been performed at the time of the incident, about one year and nine months earlier from the engagement of an expert.
Continue reading “Watch Where You Walk in A Construction Work Zone”

“We Don’t Tie-Off on this Job!”

Steel Decking

Lt. Col. Bryan Smith, Construction Site Safety Consultant ::::
Case Summary: An ironworker with 31 years of experience had just started his first day of work installing second-floor steel decking at approximately 15’ above grade level (AGL). This ironworker intended to jump from a pile of wet steel floor decking, on which he was standing, onto some decking they had just previously placed. The ironworker’s foot slipped on the wet steel, causing him to fall from the second floor level. As a result of the fall, the ironworker sustained severe injuries. Fall protection equipment (FPE) was available to the ironworker, but after questioning his foreman about its use, the worker alleged that he was informed “We don’t tie-off on this job.” The ironworker then thought that if he demanded use of the FPE that he would be fired. He chose to forego the use of the fall protection equipment. The general contractor (GC) presented a job safety orientation briefing to the ironworker within the hour just preceding the incident and in it was the job requirement for use of FPE for all work at heights above six feet. Continue reading ““We Don’t Tie-Off on this Job!””

Flawed Repair Technique Leads to Injuries

Apartment Complex

Lt. Col. Bryan Smith, PE, Commercial and Residential Site Safety Expert  ::::
Case Description: At a multi-unit apartment complex, maintenance was performed to address several weather and damage issues on exterior staircases. A second floor tenant was injured while descending her stairs. One stair-tread end section broke free from the improperly repaired support bracket as the tenant stepped on it, resulting in her ten-foot fall. She suffered severe injuries.
Expert Analysis: An analysis was performed after reviewing site photographs provided by the plaintiff’s attorney, as well as copies of the apartment complex’s maintenance/repair invoices. The evidence showed that the original stair-tread support brackets had been severely rusted, while the repair technique chosen by the contractor called for the installation of new Simpson Strong-Tie brackets as reinforcement to the existing rusted brackets.
Continue reading “Flawed Repair Technique Leads to Injuries”