Vol. 6, Issue 9
  September 5th, 2012
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> Imminent Threats To Public Safety
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> Requirements on Working From A Lift
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Imminent Threats To Public Safety
William C. Bracken, PE, SI, CFM

Imminent threats to public safety from the constructed environment are not as rare as one might think. One example of an imminent threat to public safety could include a damaged overhead sign that upon inspection is found to be supported by a single fastener that is actively failing. Another example would be a structure or a portion thereof which meets the requirements of Dangerous as found within the Florida Existing Building Code.

DANGEROUS. Any building, structure or portion thereof that meets any of the conditions described below shall be deemed dangerous:

1. The building or structure has collapsed, partially collapsed, moved off its foundation or lacks the support of ground necessary to support it.

2. There exists a significant risk of collapse, detachment or dislodgment of any portion, member, appurtenance or ornamentation of the building or structure under service loads.

Yet another example would include establishing the presence of Structural Damage as defined within Florida’s statute 627.706(2)(k) 4 or 627.706(2)(k) 5.

627.706(2)(k) 4. Damage that results in the building, or any portion of the building containing primary structural members or primary structural systems, being significantly likely to imminently collapse because of the movement or instability of the ground within the influence zone of the supporting ground within the sheer plane necessary for the purpose of supporting such building as defined within the Florida Building Code; or

627.706(2)(k) 5. Damage occurring on or after October 15, 2005, that qualifies as “substantial structural damage” as defined in the Florida Building Code.

The Professional’s Obligation

When a licensed professional encounters a situation where a real and imminent threat to public safety is found to exist, that same professional has to honor his/her obligation under F.A.C. 61G15-19.001(4). Specifically, licensed engineers in the State of Florida are required by Administrative Code (law) to utilize due care and maintain due regard for acceptable standards of engineering principles. In other words, when a licensed engineer becomes aware of a real and imminent threat to public safety, that professional is required to point out and make known the threat.

F.A.C. 61G15-19.001(4) A professional engineer shall not be negligent in the practice of engineering. The term negligence set forth in Section 471.033(1)(g), F.S., is herein defined as the failure by a professional engineer to utilize due care in performing in an engineering capacity or failing to have due regard for acceptable standards of engineering principles

In addition, licensed professionals have an obligation under F.A.C. 61G15-19.001(6) to make sure that the appropriate parties are notified.

61G15-19.001(6)(l) A professional engineer shall not commit misconduct in the practice of engineering. Misconduct in the practice of engineering as set forth in Section 471.033(1)(g), F.S., shall include, but not be limited to: If his engineering judgment is overruled by an unqualified lay authority with the results that the public health and safety is threatened, failure by a professional engineer to inform his employer, responsible supervision and the responsible public authority of the possible circumstances;

Notification

Therefore, at a minimum the licensed professional has an obligation to inform his/her employer and the party providing responsible supervision (most often the owner). If however, the licensed professional has reason to believe that his opinion will be overruled and/or ignored resulting in the public health and safety being threatened, then the licensed professional is required to notify the responsible public authority (most often the Building Department) of the real and imminent threat to public safety.

Whether a structure met the requirements of Dangerous as found within Florida’s Existing Building Code or criterion #4 or #5 of Structural Damage as defined within Florida’s statute 627.706(2)(k), licensed engineers within the State of Florida have an obligation to inform their employer, the party providing responsible supervision and the responsible public authority of the threat.

To report a violation please contact either Jason Moore (Investigator with FBPE) at (850) 521-0500 Ext: 109 jmoore@fbpe.org or Wendy Anderson (Investigator with FBPE) at (850) 521-0500 Ext: 119 wanderson@fbpe.org. For more information please contact William C. Bracken, PE, SI, CFM at: wbracken@brackenengineering.com.


 
 
Requirements On Working From A Lift
David Compton, PE, CGC, CFM

Within its regulations OSHA states that aerial work platforms (AWP), most commonly referred to as scissor lifts and cherry pickers, are intended to; provide access to heights and provide an elevated temporary work surface. OSHA’s regulations for AWPs require that operators be properly trained and authorized and anyone working from an AWP or aerial lift is to wear a body belt (harness) with its lanyard attached to the boom or basket.

It’s worth noting that OSHA’s definition of work would include everything from welding and painting to performing visual non-destructive inspections. It’s also worth noting that according to OSHA, when working from an AWP the worker should never sit or climb on the edge of the basket nor are planks, ladders, or other devices to be used for a work position from the basket.

Types Of Aerial Work Platforms

There exist four basic categories of AWPs; Static Vertical, Static Boom, Mobile Vertical and Mobile Boom. AWPs vary in lift heights (up to 150ft), lift capacities (up to 1500 lbs), and power sources (Diesel, LPG, Electric, Bi-Fuel).

Static Vertical- This category covers the smaller vertical access platforms such as “lift baskets” or “static scissor lifts”. Static lifts do not relocate under their own power and are required to be moved into position utilizing stabilizer arms to operate.

Static Boom- This category includes smaller boomed platforms such as “truck/van mounted arms”, “trailer push-arounds” and “tracked platforms”. As static lifts these also need to be fixed in position before the elevating boom is used.

Mobil Vertical- This category covers lifts commonly known as “scissor lifts”. These lifts are able to self-deploy and operate under their own power and come in a wide variety of platform sizes, lift heights and drive options.

Mobil Boom- This category covers lifts commonly known as “self-propelled booms” or “cherry pickers”. There exist two types of booms; telescopic booms and articulating booms. These lifts are also able to self-deploy and operate under their own power.

Aerial Work Platform Safety

Aerial work platform accidents can be avoided by practicing the following:

  • Obtain general training (for certification) and then machine specific training prior to using each machine,
  • Make sure that every machine has its operators manual, a copy of the ANSI safety standard and posting of its last annual inspection report,
  • Use fall protection with proper attachment of the harnesses’ lanyard (keep in mind that harnesses are to be inspected prior to use and then annually for wear or damage),
  • Know the capacity of the machine and what its gradability rating is (what grade can the machine climb in a stored position)
  • Apply safe work and operating practices such as; avoid setting platforms on uneven/unstable surfaces, and avoid overhead objects and power transmission (if there are overhead items make sure that they have been locked-out and taged-out),
  • Never operate when the prevailing wind exceeds the maximum allowable wind speed, 15 to 20 mph is rule of thumb,
  • ALWAYS have an emergency and rescue plan.

The OSHA regulations that govern AWPs can be found in 29 CFR 1910.67, 29 CFR 1910.68, and 29 CFR 1926.453. For more information please review OSHA’s requirements online at:http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10754 ANSI/SIA also provides guidance within its standards A92.2 through A92.6.

For more information on AWP safety please contact David Compton, PE, CGC, CFM at:dcompton@brackenengineering.com


 
 
Flood News
William C. Bracken, PE, SI, CFM

Association of State Floodplain Managers

Recently the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) testified before the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. The purpose of this testimony was to present a review of current building codes and current mitigation efforts aimed at helping to minimize the costs associated with natural disasters. In association with this testimony, ASFPM published a 15 page summary titled “A Review of Building Codes and Mitigation Efforts to Help Minimize the Costs Associated with Natural Disasters.” A copy of this report can be found at: http://www.floods.org/ or on our website at: http://www.brackenengineering.com/Resources/ReferenceMaterials.aspx.

Within ASFPM’s testimony the following items were covered:

  • The rise of disaster losses in the nation
  • The nation’s need for a coherent, robust and multi-faceted mitigation efforts to reduce disaster costs
  • Mitigation as an investment of taxpayer funds to save taxpayer funds
  • The effectiveness non-structural mitigation tools including building codes

The message that ASFPM wished to convey was that while death rates from natural disasters are falling their economic cost is rising relentlessly. In an effort to address these ever increasing costs, ASFPM and the floodplain management community have developed mitigation tools that work however maintaining effective mitigation is essential.

FEMA’s FloodSmart Campaign

In 2004 FEMA launched its FloodSmart campaign. This campaign is aimed at educating property owners about the dangers of flooding and how best to protect their property. Just this year FEMA reported that it has 5.5 million policies in force with far more than that at risk. As part of its effort to educate, FEMA has built an on-line information resource providing access and guidance at: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/..

According to FEMA; “Flooding is the nation's #1 natural disaster. In just the past 10 years (1998-2007), annual flood losses in the United States averaged $2.39 billion per year.”

FEMA’s NFIP Flood Insurance Manual REVISIONS

Other FEMA news is that the October 2012 Revisions to the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual have been posted online. The revisions become effective on October 1, 2012 but have been posted for reference and in an effort to raise awareness as well as preparation. The revisions can be found online at: http://www.nfipiservice.com/pdf/October%202012/oct2012_changepackage.pdf or on our website at: http://www.brackenengineering.com/Resources/ReferenceMaterials.aspx. For more information please contact William C. Bracken, PE, SI, CFM at: wbracken@brackenengineering.com


 
 
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Bracken Engineering
2701 W Busch Blvd
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Tampa, Florida 33618
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