Archive for July, 2008

Understanding Tennessee Blasting Standards Act Changes in 2008

Monday, July 7th, 2008


In 1975 Tennessee enacted their first Blasting Standards Act. At that time a 2.0 peak particle velocity vibration limit was set. Compliance with this limit allowed blasting contractors to monitor with a seismograph capable of measuring peak particle velocity in 3 mutually perpendicular directions. A blasting contractor could also comply with this limit by loading their blasts in accordance with a standard table of distance, which prescribed the maximum load of any 8 millisecond delay period giving the closest exposure distance to a particular blast.

 In January of 2008 the vibration standard for this law has been changed. Since 1975 several administrative changes have been made to the law; however, this is the first time that the vibration standard has changed. The Tennessee Blasting Standards Act still allows a blaster to comply with the vibration standard portion of the law by utilizing a standard table of distances for all blasts located within 300 feet of a structure; however, now the law utilizes two different formulas for blasting in areas located between 300 – 5,000 feet and for blasts located in areas greater than 5,000 feet from a particular blast. These formulas are shown in Figure 1.

 The vibration standard is no longer a flat 2.0 inches per second (in/s). The vibration standard has been divided into 2 sections. The first standard is strictly based on distance. If blasting occurs within 300 feet of a structure, the contractor is allowed to blast up to 1.25 in/s. If blasting occurs between 300 and 5,000 feet of a structure, a blasting contractor is allowed to shoot up to 1.00 in/s, and if blasting occurs at distances greater than 5,000 feet a blasting contractor is allowed to shoot 0.75 in/s. Each of this vibrations measurements are made in in/s peak particle velocity. The law also allows an alternate standard. The blasting contractor has the option of using the OSM frequency based curve for compliance. This frequency based curve allows a blasting contractor to shoot up to 2 in/s for those blasts where the vibrations occur in a higher frequency range above 30 hertz. The following graph shows the alternate OSM frequency based vibration limit.

 

Previously, the Tennessee Blasting Standards Act has not mandated an air blast level for any blasting activity; however the new law enacted on January 1, 2008, specifies that all blasting will be conducted at levels not to exceed 140 decibels. As a result of current changes VCE, Inc. and PMT, Inc. have cooperated in manufacturing a new version of seismograph software. This software allows seismograph users to identify compliance of measured data with the new law. The message of noncompliance will also be displayed on LCD, which will allow fast and affective blasting adjustment throughout the project for the explosive companies.

 

Eric Grigoryan

  

Preserving the Accident Scene

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Consider yourself in the following scenario: You contact us to investigate an accident that occurred a year ago. We arrive at the scene. We attempt to gather evidence, but there appears to be no evidence to collect. There are no skid marks, no gouge marks, no fluid spills and the road is repaved. Trees may have been cut down or trimmed. Road signs have been moved. The vehicles are gone, nothing was marked, and the police did not take any photographs. We attempt to locate the vehicles to inspect their damage and find that they have been repaired or salvaged. As you can imagine, our ability to replicate this incident has become increasingly difficult.

 

The previous example is extreme, but nevertheless emphasizes the importance of preserving evidence as soon as possible. In accident reconstruction, our analysis can only be as accurate as the evidence we gather. As time goes on the evidence degrades, and as the evidence degrades so does the ability to determine what happened with certainty. This fact puts us continually fighting against the clock because a significant amount of scene evidence is short-lived and fleeting. For instance, impending skid marks, ABS skid marks, debris patterns, and paint transfers are typically moved or nowhere to be found within a few hours or days.

 

After Longer Periods of Time the Following Can Also Be Altered or Removed:

  • Roadway Signs (especially in construction areas)
  • Roadway Drag Factor (further traffic degradation or re-pavement)
  • Sight Distance Obstructions (embankments, trees, parked vehicles, etc.)

This is just a partial list but it stands to emphasize the point.

 

When an accident occurs, consider the benefits of taking timely action.  Ideally we would be able to respond to the scene immediately after the original incident, especially if there is any indication that a comprehensive, professional investigation may be required. This gives us the opportunity to document the scene thoroughly and accurately.

 

We utilize various methodologies and technologies to document the scene including:

  • Quality Digital Photography
  • D.A.R.T. LX-2 Drag Sled
  • Crash Data Retrieval System
  • Sokkia Total Station
  • Nikon Reflectorless Total Station

VCE has been utilizing the Sokkia Total Station to measure accident scenes with great accuracy and precision for over 10 years. This instrument allows you to measure points at the scene in a three-dimensional framework based on distances and angles to produce X, Y, and Z coordinates that can be used with our software programs to create precise two-dimensional and three-dimensional scale diagrams, animations, and simulations. Just recently we have expanded our services to include a Nikon Reflectorless Total Station that allows measurements to be taken without the necessity of a reflector pole. This is a great asset when attempting to take measurements of a busy intersection or interstate where it would be impractical to stand in the roadway with a reflector pole. Furthermore it is ideal for measuring damage profiles of vehicles.

 

With our thorough scene investigation complete, the scene and evidence are recorded and saved. The facts of the particular case can be preserved for whatever future analysis might be necessary. With this information, you can make an informed decision about the requirement of further investigation based on our initial findings without the additional pressure of capturing the evidence before it is gone.

 

Jonathan McGehee