This case takes place in New York and involves a contractor who was electrocuted at a bicycle factory. The plaintiff was contracted to repair machines at the defendant factory, working several years as an electrician for large manufacturers. On this occasion, he was tasked to fix a machine that bends and cuts sections of steel piping to form handlebars. The machine was unable to be shutdown on its own since the shut-off handle was not operational, so machines in the whole area needed to be shut down by a master kill switch. In the process of repairing the machine, the contractor somehow came into contact with a live electrical element, causing severe injuries internally and externally.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please discuss your background in electrical engineering as it relates to heavy machinery as described in the case summary.
- 2. Are you available for an on-site inspection and opine on your findings and potentially testify?
- 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
Expert Witness Response E-019048
I have been working directly in industrial electrical engineering for 23+ years. I worked with several factories in the US and Canada, including Westvaco, Mead, NewPage, Stora-Enso and others. I have personally designed as well as directed the design of electrical equipment in many industrial settings, including factories such as the one described in this case. This includes service equipment up to 115kV, distribution equipment at many intermediate voltages, and equipment at lower voltages such as 480V/240V/120V. I have also personally designed and directed the design of many industrial control systems, including PLC controls, hard-wired controls, SCADA, DCS, and custom application controls. From the summary provided it appears that the repair technician was placed in a needlessly dangerous situation and that the shutdown switch should have been repaired prior to any other work taking place.