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The Case of the 2000' Tall Collapsed Antenna Tower

Collapsed Steel Antenna TowerThe Problem:

Structural tower upgrades to the steel antenna tower were required to comply with FAA mandates about aviation lights and loads for high-definition TV antennae.  The work crew was replacing the existing diagonals with larger diagonals and new struts in specific tower panel locations near the top of the tower. The work was nearly completed prior to the tower collapse.

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The Case of the Unsafe Gun Safe

Gun Safe with Failed WeldsThe Problem:

The Plaintiff filed a home-owners insurance claim that alleged defective welds on the gun safe that was damaged in his residential fire. The insured reportedly purchased the safe at a discount store 5 years prior to the fire. The Plaintiff reportedly used the gun safe for shot guns and as storage for antique, diamond jewelry and a large amount of cash.

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The Case of the Escapee Cows and the Broken Chain Link

Pasture Gate Chain to Secure GateThe Problem:

The incident occurred near remote railroad tracks on New Year’s Eve.  The temperature was -12ºF.  There was no structural damage to the gate, vertical members of the gate, or chain post assigned to the chain link failure event.  During the night, several hundred cows exited the opened gate that was reportedly locked closed by the chain.  The cows travelled. single file through the snow and were all hit and killed by the locomotive of a freight train.

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The Case of the Welder and Poorly Ventilated Toxic Fumes

Welding Fume Mitigation

The Problem:

Welding fume litigation requires testimony to complex scientific issues concurrent with findings from specific medical maladies in neurology, toxicology and epidemiology.  Physical science, engineering assessments and medical diagnosis are expected to converge and form a legal consensus which does not always happen.  The testimony of experts must be complementary from engineers and the medical community for each case, date, process and workplace.  Accurate data about resultant personnel disorders and biological dysfunctions are often not easily exchanged between engineers and medical practitioners. Reports of findings can be biased, misleading and violate common sense.

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The Case of the Thermal Cutting Fashion Faux Pas

Unsafe Apparel, Oxy-Acetylene CuttingThe Problem:

Worker apparel for thermal cutting operators and welders should be explained in the HAZCOM program and workplace safety assessments.  During a recent cutting torch incident the operator of an oxy-fuel track-cutter was severely burned by flying sparks and slag.  Airborne molten slag from the automated thermal cutting operation ignited the operator’s shirt and pants.  The employer rented the operator’s work shirt and pants from a local uniform company.  The employer provided the employee’s uniform as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The employer’s HAZCOM program and warnings about PPE did not emphasize the limitations of “fire resistant” work uniforms.

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