Safety Expert Witness Services

Greg Gerganoff, Founder of Rocky Mountain Safety Consulting, Inc., is a safety expert witness for matters involving injury cases occurring in mining, oil and gas, construction or manufacturing industries.

The work place presents many hazards to employee safety.  However, such hazards are/can be eliminated or greatly reduced if work place safety rules are observed. When an injury does occur, it is due to someone failing to follow sound safety practice or undertaking an unsafe act.  Work place safety is governed by the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA).

As a professional safety expert, Greg Gerganoff offers comprehensive knowledge and opinion reports regarding work place safety conditions and practices.  Our work is based on applicable safety codes and regulations of OSHA, MSHA and generally accepted safety work place practices, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and Mine Safety Health Review Commission and federal court rulings. Our opinions are based upon these safety standards.

Greg Gerganoff has a working knowledge of many common field practices and how tasks are undertaken.  We can often assist legal counsel by suggesting lines of inquiry and necessary documents to better clarify their positions from a safety standpoint.

Our Experience

The safety subject matters we handle and our professional experience, among other topics, include: fork lift incidents, confined space, fall protection, heavy equipment, hazardous communication, work place chemical exposures, oil & gas fires/explosions, scissor lifts, heavy equipment operation, power tools, oil and gas compressor stations, mining safety issues, road construction, traffic control, joint/multi-employer situations, falls from heights, walking surfaces, roof, gas cylinder safety, crusher and conveyor, gravel pits, slips-trips and falls,  accident investigation, and subcontractor responsibility on the job site.

Parties worked with:  plaintiff and defense, worker’s compensation, subrogation, and third party liability matters.

We assist lawyers in identifying the safety aspects of their cases.  Our opinions are footnoted to specific, applicable OSHA/MSHA laws, OSHRC and MSHRC and federal case law tied to the evidence in the case.   We understand our opinions need be substantiated in line with traditional legal standards.

Greg Gerganoff is a licensed attorney who practiced law for approximately 12 years (Colorado) with 18 years professional safety experience. He is a Certified Safety Professional, an authorized OSHA Outreach trainer in General Industry, a PEC Safeland Instructor for Basic and Core oil and gas safety training and a Mine Safety and Health Administration Approved Instructor.

Case Studies

Oil and gas.  Defense for pumper.   Pumper hired a contractor to repair a well pump that was not functioning.  After the completion of the repair, while the crew was standing around the well pump system, the pumper, at the direction of the contractor, walked over to the power switch for the pump turning it on.   An employee of a contractor crew grasped a drive belt to push it to “help” start rotation of the newly repaired pump when it started injuring his hand.  Injured employee sued the pumper.

Our review of the contractors safety training documents and its safety manual, PEC Safeland  safety training rule of stop work authority we demonstrated that contractor and employee were well aware of hand safety rules, stop work authority, lock out tag out (LOTO-29 CFR 1910.147), OSHA moving machine parts guarding rules (29 CFR 1910.219), and OSHA’s General Duty clause requiring employer to provide a work place free of known safety hazards (General Duty Clause, 29 USC 654).  We demonstrated the employee and his employer simply failed to observe its own safety rules.

Oil and gas. Plaintiff.  Plaintiff as an employee of a petroleum tank service contractor was assigned a pump out and service of a petroleum storage tank.  His task was to drain a storage tank and clean it. He was told the facility was prepped for his work, meaning the electrical power was off at the site.  However, the electrical power to the storage tank facility had in fact not been turned off resulting in a storage tank heating element remaining on.  As the plaintiff lowered the oil level in the tank, resulting in exposing a heating element which overheated and ignited the flammable petroleum fumes.  Plaintiff was atop the tank at time of ignition and was badly burned.

Employee was never trained nor told what steps to take to safely undertake his task.

Plaintiff had to show why others than his employer were responsible for his injuries.  Our review of the matter showed the contractors, well owner and pumper failed to coordinate and outline what the storage tank cleaning task called for according to American Petroleum Institute (API) 2015 Requirements of Safety Entry and Cleaning Petroleum Storage Tanks.  This safety rule sets forth the steps owners and contractors involved in working with petroleum storage tanks must take to assure storage tank assigned tasks would be safe for employees.  We demonstrated there was no coordination or sharing of critical safety information among the parties involved as required by this API safety rule.  We also demonstrated the owner and pumper failed to follow National Electrical Code labeling of electrical control boxes as required by OSHA/29 CFR 1910.355.

Construction. Plaintiff.  Plaintiff was a high school student working part time in mechanic’s shop.  His employer, who hired a contractor to expand his mechanic’s shop, directed Plaintiff to assist the contractor.  Plaintiff fell from ladder during construction work.  We demonstrated neither the mechanic nor contractor provided any fall protection safety training nor fall protection equipment as required by OSHA 29 CFR 1926.501.

Mining. Defendant.  Defendant mine operator was named as a co-defendant by a plaintiff who struck a truck hauling material from the mine while on a public road.   The public road was a dirt road and road conditions dusty.   Plaintiff sought to hold mine operator responsible for dusty road conditions under MSHA law.  Our research showed that Mine Safety & Health Act, based on Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission rulings specifically excluded public roads from MSHA jurisdiction.

SAFETY
SUSTAINABILITY

More than rules, risk management/safety is a business philosophy easily integrated into daily and long term management operations. We help make implementing this philosophy easy, sustainable and long term.