Inadequate Warning on Water Pump Leads to Injuries

    Warnings Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves a farmer who was injured while testing a portable irrigation pump. During pressure testing, the pipe was attached to the pumping apparatus and was filled to a few hundred pounds of pressure. At some point during the test the pipe burst from the pressure, striking the farmer in the head and seriously injuring him. Similar pumping devices made by competitors have warnings all over them stating that they should not be used for the particular type of irrigation system used by this farmer. Furthermore, the piping through which the pressurized water was pumped lacked any warnings regarding the maximum pressure it could endure.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please describe your experience evaluating warnings as it relates to similar devices.
    • 2. Have you ever personally created warnings for pumps or similar devices? Please explain.
    • 3. Have you ever been sued?
    • 4. Have you ever served as an expert witness?
    • 5. Have you ever been arrested?

    Expert Witness Response E-000942

    This accident clearly fits within the Hazard Mitigation/ Risk Evaluation paradigm. Even without knowing of the warnings, the manufacturer should have protected users from misapplication of their product by providing the necessary information at the point of use (i.e., a warning on the pump and pipe). I have dealt with dozens of label and warning cases and have developed and evaluated warnings for a variety of products. I am on several ASTM committees and participated in the development of an AAMI guide for labeling and instructions for manufacturers of various devices and machinery. My additional physics degree provides a scientific appreciation for the specific hazard involved. I am currently investigating a similar accident with a waste disposal hose under a high-pressure condition.

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