Tag Archives: injuries

Ice Bucket Challenge Ends in Serious Injuries

By Kim Smiley

In a terrible reminder that awful things can happen at any time, two firefighters were seriously injured helping the Campbellsville University’s marching band raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research by participating in the trendy ice bucket challenge.  If you ever log onto Facebook, you are probably already familiar with the concept behind the ice bucket challenge, but in case you are not a social media fan, the idea behind the ice bucket challenge is that friends tag each other to either donate $100 to an ALS-related charity  or dump a bucket of ice water over their head.  If you choose the ice bucket, you are supposed to take a video or photo as evidence and post it online.

Trying to create an entertaining video of the ice bucket dumping is part of the fun for many of the participants.  In order to make a memorable video to post on social media, the firefighters that were injured used a fire truck ladder to dump ice water on the band from above.  While on the ladder, the firefighters were near high voltage power lines (although they never actually touched the lines) and electricity arced out, injuring four firefighters.  Two firefighters were treated and released, but two were still hospitalized days later.  One was listed as stable, but the other was in critical condition.

This accident clearly illustrates that high voltage can be extremely dangerous even if you don’t touch the equipment. An arc flash can occur when a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another or to the ground.  The closer a person is when an arc happens, the more dangerous it is.  Arcs are exceptionally hot and can cause very serious injuries and even death from several feet away when high voltage is in use.

The Public Service Commission stated that they will investigate the location to ensure that the power line had the correct clearance from the ground, trees and structures, but initial reports do not indicate any problems with the power poles.  Possible solutions that could be used to reduce the risk of a similar problem in the future are increased education on the risks of high voltage and ensuring that adequate warning signs are in place.

These have been the most dramatic injuries associated with the ice bucket challenge, but there are a slew of videos featuring buckets dropped on heads, slips and a variety of other unintended outcomes that look painful.  If you are considering doing the ice bucket challenge, please remember that a gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds.  A five gallon bucket filled with water is pretty heavy.  Think the plan through carefully before you ask somebody to dump water on you off a balcony because it may end badly.

Commuter Ferry Crash in NYC Injures 85

By ThinkReliability Staff

A commuter ferry struck a pier in Lower Manhattan, NY during the morning commute on January 9, 2013, injuring at least 85 people – some critically .  According  to US Coast Guard Captain Gordon Loebl, “We know that they hit the pier at a relatively high rate of speed.”

We can examine this issue in a Cause Map, a form of root cause analysis which provides a visual “map” of cause-and-effect relationships.  We begin by determining the impacts to the goals resulting from this incident.  The safety goal was impacted due to the large number of people who were injured.  (No fatalities have been reported as a result of the crash.)   The customer service goal was impacted because the ferry slammed into a pier (nobody expects that on their morning commute!).  The ferry was damaged, impacting the property goal.  Presumably the ferry will be out of service for some time, impacting the production goal, and will require repairs, impacting the labor goal.  Any time required for the response can also be considered an impact to the labor goal.

A Cause Map can begin as simply as beginning with an impacted goal and asking a couple of why questions.  In this case, the safety goal is impacted by the injuries, which were caused by the ferry striking the pier.  More detail can be added to the Cause Map by asking more “Why” questions.

In this case, it’s not clear what caused the crash, though drug or alcohol use by the captain has been ruled out.  There have been some recent complaints about maneuverability due to a recent overhaul replacing the engine and propulsion system but it’s not clear if this played a role in the crash.  It’s also unclear why the ship was traveling at 14 knots when it was about to dock.  Because the ship was about to dock, people had gotten up from their seats and were standing in hallways and on or near stairways, increasing the rate of injury.  It does not appear that there are any regulations requiring commuters to remain seated until the ferry has stopped moving.

The ferry company, as well as the appropriate transportation authorities, will continue their investigations to determine the causes of the ferry incident.  Once they do, they will provide recommendations or requirements to ensure a safer morning commute.

To view the Outline and Cause Map, please click “Download PDF” above.  Or click here to read more.