Safety expert witness Jon J. Pina, MS, CSP
Case Synopsis: A worker was seriously injured as a result of falling approximately 18 feet from a scaffold platform while performing supervisory work on equipment at a refinery. A refinery has a maze of obstructions such as piping, large valves, and valve stems, etc. Constructing scaffolding in and amongst all of these obstructions is an extremely difficult task requiring scaffolding specialists and an OSHA compliant tagging system. OSHA also requires that the employer provide workers with personal protective equipment and training on how to safely access and descend a scaffold ladder.
Issues: Did the builder of the scaffolding use an OSHA compliant tagging system? Did the employer provide fall protection and training? Who was at fault for the worker's fall?
Case Synopsis: An independent union electrician was fatally injured as a result of falling out of an aerial lift basket approximately 60 to 65 feet to the concrete floor below.
Issues: Was the construction manager, as the controlling employer under OSHA's Multi-employer Directive, responsible for the manner and methods employed by a specialty contractor? Did the worker's employer provide personal protective equipment (PPE), have a written PPE program and provide adequate training?
Case Synopsis: A worker was injured as a result of being struck in the face with a portable pump plastic discharge hose containing a highly caustic sodium hydroxide (NaOH) chemical solution while performing sanitation activities at a meat processing facility.
Issues: Was the worker adequately trained in safety procedures? Did the worker follow safety procedures including proper use of eye washing stations and personal protective equipment (PPE) including goggles? Was the meat processing facility responsible for the equipment or chemicals involved in the accident?
Case Synopsis: An employee of a residential contractor was seriously injured when he contacted an overhead 7,200 volt electrical line while handling the rigging cable from a hydraulic boom crane operated by another contractor.
Issues: Did the employer provide training for tasks like these? Did the general contractor conduct toolbox meetings and a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for tasks like this? Did the employee ask others to "spot" him? Did the employee ask for any personal protective equipment such as non-conductive clothing, boots, and gloves? Did the general contractor coordinate the activities of the contractors? Did the power company check the location of the proposed construction? Did the crane operator perform his job in a safe manner?
Case Synopsis: While walking through a building to observe existing asbestos containing material in preparation for completing a bid, a man was killed as he began to descend stairs and the stairwell collapsed.
Issues: Was the OSHA required engineering survey (Subpart T 1926.850) — for all demolition activities prior to demolition — completed and made available? Were unsafe areas barricaded off and warning signs in place? Was a site orientation required for admittance to the structure?
Case Synopsis: A truck driver attempted to unload a polyethylene drum weighing approximately 700 pounds from a pallet placed on the trailer bed by a facility forklift operator. As the driver attempted to manually move the drum from the pallet to the trailer, he lost control of the drum and the metal ring of the drum struck the metatarsal area of his right foot.
Issues: Did the forklift driver properly move the pallet? Did the truck driver wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including steel-toed safety shoes? Did the truck driver's employers have a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for the means and methods of unloading a drum?
Case Synopsis: At a construction site, a truck jackknifed on an unpaved area, and the load shifted and landed on the tractor cab instantly crushing the truck driver to death. The load consisted of a large chiller unit weighing 26 tons.
Issue: Who was responsible for securing the load to the trailer prior to moving the truck?
Case Synopsis: The forklift operator, an employee of a steel mill, was fatally injured when a Euclid R25 off-road rear dump truck backed into him as he drove an industrial forklift. He was crushed and killed from the weight of his 5,000 pound forklift as it overturned.
Issue: Did the truck driver assure that no one was in the path of his dump truck when he placed it in reverse gear? Did the driver follow the guidelines in the Euclid Operator Handbook on the need to use a spotter when backing up because of the large blind spot?
Case Synopsis: A truck driver was struck by two large 18" diameter pipes that fell on him as he was attempting to adjust the straps securing the pipe on his flatbed trailer after the pipes had shifted and were unstable.
Issues: Did the pipe supplier have adequate safety policies and procedures along with specific training on how to stack pipe on flatbed trailers? Did the pipe supplier have a load checker present at any point during or after the flatbed was loaded?
Case Synopsis: Man diagnosed with mesothelioma alleged the cause to be asbestos from boilers in high school gym.
Issues: Were bulk samples ever taken of the dust to ascertain whether dust from the boiler piping contained asbestos? Were air samples ever taken? Was the man exposed to asbestos at other places and points in his life?