The Case of the Failed Dallas Tower Crane

Tower Crane – Defective Diagonal Tube - Welded ConnectionThe Problem:

On a Sunday afternoon, a violent thunderstorm, with high winds between 75 and 80 mph, collapsed a tower crane and killed one innocent person and injured many others. The tower crane collapse extensive property damage to an apartment complex near the 5 story, concrete parking garage construction site.  The construction company and owner claimed the tower crane was properly stowed for the weekend. The tower crane had been in service at the construction site for 15 months prior to the failure event.  OSHA cited the company with numerous safety violations.  Why did the tower crane collapse during the thunderstorm?

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The Case of the Fracking Pump Miscommunication

Fracking Pumps and Tanks Set-up at WellsiteThe Problem:

In the litigation, the Buyer alleged that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) welding was to have been in accordance with AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code – Steel.   The code stated that complete information regarding base metal, type, size, and NDT of all welds shall be clearly shown on the plans and specifications provided to the OEM.  The contract documents and shop drawings did not indicate which joints required a specific assembly order, welding sequence or Nondestructive Testing (NDT).  The Buyer’s drawings depicted incorrect welding symbols. The Buyer referenced internal corporate specifications that were unavailable to the OEM.  The OEM was ordered by the Buyer to commence welding in the absence of all necessary information from the Buyer. 

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The Case of the Refurbished Railcar

Bolster CastingsThe Problem:

Railcar refurbish operations required a quality assurance process for examinations and testing structural castings for railcar frames, bolsters, planks and spring seats. The large, used castings were thoroughly cleaned of debris, grease and scale, sandblasted and examined by Visual Testing (VT) and Wet Magnetic Particle Testing (MT).  VT and MT were performed by qualified personnel on the accessible areas of each casting.  When relevant indications (discontinuities and cracks) were located, the areas were repaired by certified welders and retested.

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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 Fatally Failed Hinge Pin

Figure 1.  Exemplar Oven with DoorThe Problem:

The subject oven door hinge failed.  The incident chronology indicated a single-event explosion inside the high-temperature and internally pressurized oven while in operation.  The blast occurred on a tray of a mid-level shelf.  At the time of the explosion, the technician had prepared to open the oven door when the hinge pin failed and the door rapidly opened with great force.  The door disengaged from the hinges and knocked the technician across the room, resulting in his death.

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