Technical bulletins

Technical bulletins

  • December 2018

    Chaffing: Why should we be concerned?

    By Geoffrey Wowk P.Eng., CFEI,

    Heavy equipment isn't just used to mine gold in the Yukon, extract oil all over the world, or cut trees for the forestry industry; it also helps produce items we use daily. The watch you have on your wrist, the wood framed house you live in, and the plastic reusable cup you had your coffee in this morning. Most of the heavy equipment used for these products require hydraulic oil to operate, and it is important to ensure that hydraulic hoses are designed, installed and maintained properly to reduce accidents, fires and costly breakdowns.

  • November 2018

    Cigarettes Can Kill You, and E-cigarettes Can Too!

    By Daniel Kabaroff P.Eng., Éric Chainé P. Eng., IAAI-CFI, CFEI, National Corporate Practices Manager,

    Over the years, the health benefits of quitting smoking have been well documented; however, some former cigarette users are turning to e-cigarettes or "vaping" to help them quit. Vaping has also become popular among many people who have never smoked cigarettes. But e-cigarette use comes with its own set of risks.

  • October 2018

    Staying out of hot water - The basics of the control systems for hot water heating appliances

    By Ryan Hazlett P.Eng., CFEI,

    We use hot water for showering, cooking, clothing and dishware sanitation and space heating, so it is likely no surprise that water heating appliances are used in almost every household and business in the country. We generate hot water from a variety of appliances including hot water tanks, instantaneous hot water heaters, and conventional boilers. These appliances use a variety of energy sources including propane, natural gas and electricity. Despite the large variation in styles and methods used to heat water, the control systems, which make them operate safely, are actually fairly similar.

  • September 2018

    Product failures

    By Andrea Jeffery MSc., P.Eng.,

    Product failure is not uncommon and is usually more of an annoyance than a serious issue. However, sometimes products fail and result in serious damage or injury. These are often the product failures that warrant investigation and analysis to identify any potential subrogation opportunities. Causes of these failures are typically due to one of three issues: installation, manufacture or misuse.

  • July 2018

    Concussions and Injury Claims

    By Claudia Blandford M.E.Sc., EIT,

    Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury that typically result from a head impact. Also known as mild traumatic brain injuries or mTBIs, concussions present symptoms ranging from headaches and nausea to difficulties with memory or concentration. Because the physical signs are limited or challenging to quantify, they are difficult to accurately diagnose without patient input, leading to legitimacy questions in injury claims.

  • June 2018

    Expansive Soils

    By Carla Ladner P.Eng.,

    Expansive soils can often cause great loss to residential and commercial property. Numerous Canadian cities and towns are located in geographic areas with soils that are classified as clays having medium to high plasticity. This means that these soils are capable of absorbing water and will expand and contract as the moisture content changes. Activation of highly plastic clay (also called heaving or swelling) can cause damage to a building structure, a concrete slab on grade and/or surrounding landscaping.

  • May 2018

    Humidity in your basement: could it be your foundation drain?

    By Andréanne Labrecque P. Eng.,

    Do you notice excessive moisture in your basement in the form of water infiltration or the appearance of molds or whitish marks at the bottom of your foundation walls? The foundation drain could be the cause! Humidity problems in basements are more common than one might think. When basements are used as living space, a problem of excessive humidity can quickly become an irritant and cause significant health problems.

  • March 2018

    Fire Suppression Systems

    By Geoffrey Wowk P.Eng., CFEI,

    When you enter a condominium or commercial building you will often see wet sprinkler heads located in the walls or hanging from the ceiling. These water suppression systems will extinguish fires involving wood components, couches (polyurethane foam) and other plastic materials, and are effective at controlling or extinguishing fires. But how do we control fires involving grease or other flammable chemicals, like paint?

  • February 2018

    Vehicle Data - The final answer or just the beginning

    By Paul Gullekson P.Eng., Regional Manager, Waterloo,

    Most vehicles on the road today have an event data recorder (EDR), and the number of EDRs is only increasing as newer vehicles replace older models. EDRs are modules that will record data related to an incident (i.e. a collision). This technology has been around for over 20 years, so now is a good time to look back at how these black boxes have changed the way we investigate collisions.

  • January 2018

    Hazardous material spills: a costly issue during and after fire

    By Michel Millmore P.T., CESA,

    During firefighting, the attention is mainly focused on the health and safety of building occupants and first responders. Damages to property and the environment are most of the time a secondary issue. When the fire is over, damages to property and structures are often visible and rapidly under control. However, damages to the environment usually worsen and risk of exposure to many contaminants remains a concern.