Monthly Archives: May 2020

Mechanical Fasteners


Mechanical fasteners, when properly used as recommended by the manufacturer, almost always assure safe and secure attachment of a fastened product. In commercial and residential applications, injuries resulting from mechanical attachment failures have often been attributed to inappropriate usage of products, improper installation procedures, or the failure of a poorly manufactured fastening product. When a product becomes disconnected from its point of attachment, serious personal injury can result.

As the retained construction expert witness participating in numerous personal injury claims resulting from loose or falling components in commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals, airports, and housing projects, I have been involved in assessing, analyzing, and determining the reasons for the attachment failures of many types of products.

I have observed, during onsite inspections and investigations, a variety of reasons why products become disconnected from their intended location. Reasons why products become detached and dangerous leading to severe personal injuries include but are not limited to:

· Missing fasteners

· Missing fastener parts

· Inappropriate fasteners for the particular product being attached

· Missed connections of the fastening hardware (failure of the fastener to anchor into backing or wall studs)

· Poorly designed systems that have failed due to lack of structural integrity

· Over tightened, stripped and abused fasteners

· Damaged and fatigued hardware

· Destroyed fasteners or substrate from repeated attempts to secure the fastener

· Poorly manufactured component parts of the fastener

· Substituted import fasteners in place of specified domestic products

The attachment failures that I have observed are usually the result of one or more recurring problems:

In commercial applications such as in a hotel environment, it is not uncommon to have multiple locations using identical products and fastening systems such as in guest rooms or common area hallways. One example of a multiple location installed product would be a guest room headboard. The headboards are usually attached to the headwall with a cleated system. This cleat system is often found loose or detached due to improper anchoring of the original installation hardware. Ornamental art pieces or wall sconces installed along a common corridor become dislodged due to abuse by patrons and or attachment failures occur due to improper usage of wall anchoring hardware. Another example is often seen in hastily or improperly installed door closer hardware. Serious personal injury claims can result from improper preparation of the receptor areas (point of attachment) where stripped, over torqued, or sheared screws ultimately lead to poor or inadequate attachment of the applied hardware products.

A key factor leading to personal injury is the lack of proper maintenance policies and procedures. In many cases, improper maintenance is found to be another prevalent cause of mechanical fastener failures which has resulted in severe injury claims. Maintenance personnel that are untrained or lack the proper tools to perform repairs often make the decision that the needed corrective actions they have taken to make the repairs have been properly completed. In many cases, the corrective maintenance actions actually created a much more dangerous situation, where a once minor problem became a significant factor contributing to a serious personal injury.

There are probably as many different types of mechanical fasteners as there are products that need fastening. Mechanical fasteners can be as simple as a common staple, nut, bolt, nail, or screw. They can be as complicated as a proprietary connection that requires specialized tools to manipulate the connective surfaces. What is most basic to mechanical fasteners is that they must be used appropriately and as designed by the manufacturer of the fastener.

Most fasteners are designed for a specific application. Manufacturers have engineered their products to evaluate the weight of the object being connected, the substrate that the object will ultimately be connected to, the potential for expansion and contraction or movement of the substrate, and what environment the fastener must function within. Types of materials that sub-surfaces are made from affect the performance of any fastener. It is important to have information as to the component makeup of the point of attachment to insure that the fastener chosen will meet the needs of the applied components. Knowledge of the proper use of fasteners is even more critical in harsh environments. Points of connection with acidic substrates or where temperature, moisture or chemical changes are frequent make choosing the proper fastener even more significant.

On a very basic level, the best fastener for your application must include a calculation to hold the desired object with a margin of safety. Installation methods and techniques must be tailored and designed to exceed the possible abuses that can occur to protect the safety of the patrons of an establishment.

For example, my construction company has installed wall hung pictures throughout hotel rooms and hotel common areas. A small ten pound picture and frame properly attached to a wall does not appear to be a major safety hazard. However, in the most basic installation scenario when hanging this example decoration, my crews have utilized a continuous cleated system that works with a cam lock that assures not only the positioning of the picture, but also assures that the picture and frame cannot be removed from the wall.

If that ten pound picture fell off of the wall, or was hanging over a bed in a hotel room and fell off onto a guest while that guest was sleeping, that small picture and frame could create a serious injury. If the ten pound picture and frame was only attached to the wall using a hook and wire such as would be common in a residential application, the hotel would be negligent in the method of attachment by not protecting its patrons from a possible predictable injury.

While using the hanger wire and hook is reasonable and acceptable in a personal residential application, it could be considered negligent and inappropriate in a commercial application. The possibility that an injury could result from the inadvertent movement and detachment of the frame from the wall when the picture was accidentally brushed in normal usage must be foreseen. The planned potential abuse of this example picture and frame when installed with this locking cleat system answers several requirements that any hotel or commercial location should be concerned with.

1. The hotel should be concerned first with the safety of its patrons.

2. The condition and appearance of the hotel room is important to the management of the hotel.

3. The picture is secure from theft by guests.

With the proper usage of a locking cleated fastening system, the example picture and frame are securely attached. Making certain that the artwork remains level and straight, the design element of the room is maintained precisely as planned by the designers for the patrons to enjoy safely.

As a wide range and variety of wall conditions exist, the requirements of safe and proper attachments vary with the site conditions. Fasteners manufactured for almost any kind of wall and substrate exist, however, are often misused leading to personal injuries that could have been prevented. On different personal injury cases, different causes have been determined to have led to fastener failures.

It has been found that improper usage of fasteners has been the result of:

1. Attempting to lower the product installation costs.

2. Architects or engineers have specified inappropriate products for attachment.

3. Architects omit fastening instructions, so installers choose inappropriate fasteners for the product.

4. Installation techniques were wrong for the installed products.

5. Time constraints limited the quality of work, and due to a rushed schedule, hardware and fasteners were omitted by the installation contractors.

Representing both Plaintiff and Defense in personal injury claims, a variety of entities have been blamed for injuries resulting from improper attachment of installed products. In some large hotel cases, there are multiple tiers of responsibility that begin with poor choices made by an architect, designer or engineer. Contract installers, not questioning the installation requirements, project managers and team evaluators hurrying workmen to complete an installation and the lack of a thorough examination of the site after installation is completed. Finally, maintenance workers, maids or janitors lacking the qualifications to properly evaluate the site conditions on a daily basis fail to alert management that dangerous conditions need repair. In many cases, hidden defective installation practices and/or correct verification of proper attachments after the products were installed have led to personal injuries making the management or owner of the property the primary responsible party.

When evaluating an injury from the defense perspective, some incident investigations have shown and proven that the abusive actions of a patron created the dangerous conditions leading to the injury. While serious injuries may have resulted to that patron, the actions of the patron sometimes eliminated the obligations of the property owner or management.

Mike Panish is a licensed general contractor in the State of California. He is also a commercial cabinet & millwork contractor experienced in manufacturing and installing architectural products. He has been the retained expert on many cases that have resulted from improper usage of fasteners.

Some of the types of cases where he has been retained to inspect, analyze, and evaluate attachment claims and responsibilities by both plaintiff and defense are as follows:

· Head board detachments in hotel rooms.

· Mirrored surfaces, applied vertically and horizontally.

· Overhead architectural panel systems in private residences.

· Architectural millwork in commercial buildings.

· T-grid ceiling systems in commercial buildings.

· Art work and framed mirrors in hotel rooms and common areas.

· Head trauma cases where casework has fallen on patrons.

· Door and hardware component detachment and failures.

· Book cases and shelving installation defects in housing tract developments.

· Garage storage shelving units in housing tract and condominium developments.

· Garage door component attachments and failures in residential and commercial properties.

· Kitchen and bathroom cabinet detachment and component failures.

· Guard railings and fencing attachment points.

· Cosmetic concealment in themed attractions such as component attachments for restaurants, amusement and entertainment venues.

· Improper installation of permanently attached products in municipal buildings and parks.

· Improper attachment of furnishings and cabinets in residences, hotels and commercial malls, casinos and cruise ships.


Understanding the Importance of Quality in Manufacturing and Services


Why it should be foremost given the current political atmosphere.

It’s something that’s heard all the time now: “They don’t make ’em like they used to” or “Another product made outside of the United States.” Indeed, to some degree, there’s a ring of truth to these sentiments; unfortunately, many areas of commerce – notably the aforementioned electronics sector – are being outsourced to countries such as China on a widespread basis, so much so that many consumers feel value has paid the ultimate price. Case in point: The home audio enthusiast market saw a resurgence of turntables over the past decade or so, driven by a millennial demographic just getting their feet wet in the “vinyl resurgence” pool, but in the mad scramble to compete and churn out these record players as fast as they were being purchased, many major companies outsourced their specs to Asia-based entities that ended up cutting corners to meet a price point.

As a result, more than a few series of turntables from this particular brand suffered from poor build, unreliable drive motors, design snafus such as warped platters and more – all of which compromise a vinyl playback system’s performance in critical ways.

Of course, this is just a broad, random example, but our point is that quality in manufacturing and services, especially in our current somewhat heated political atmosphere, should be first and foremost – a sentiment that has not been lost on President Donald J. Trump, who has given US manufacturing representatives a different viewpoint to consider when it comes to consumer manufactured products.

In short, President Trump wants American manufacturing to step up to the plate, and it begins and ends with “the Q word.”

Why should this be first and foremost when taken in a manufacturing context? It is easy to falter in an optimistic market and revel in manufacturing optimism; to be blunt, it is the only sustainable pillar that drives excellence in business. Value in a company that manufactures goods not only helps the economy meet customer and industry expectations, it can keep costs down. Managing excellence is crucial for small businesses in particular, because well-built products help to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing the risk and cost of replacing faulty goods.

Let’s take a quick look at the primary elements of this subject:

• Meeting Customer Expectations – Customers expect a company to deliver great products, and when it doesn’t they quickly look for alternatives. Distinction is critical to satisfying customers and retaining their loyalty so they continue to buy in the future.

• Managing a Reputation – Excellence influences a company’s reputation, as poor build or a product failure (like the turntable example we mentioned earlier) can create negative publicity and damage a reputation.

• Meeting Industry Standards – Accreditation to a recognized standard may be essential for dealing with certain customers or complying with legislation.

• Managing Costs – Poor characteristics increases costs, as we alluded to, because without an effective control system in place a company may incur the cost of analyzing nonconforming goods or services to determine the root causes.

For manufacturing firms, it’s important to ramp up process training, management commitment and involvement in all teams when improving purity control, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a look at suppliers, as well. Researching, studying and evaluating alone will improve this area – and parts – and top-shelf products equal sales for the long-term, all while eliminating consumer mistrust in manufacturing.

President Trump has set us on the right course… now we need to all do our part to improve US manufacturing.


Why a US Based Manufacturer Is the Best Choice for Your Products


“The “Made in the US” stamp is a powerful tool to use in marketing. When you invest and contribute to your community, this encourages the consumers to buy locally made products. In the same way, buying a product made by a US manufacturer gives some sense of patriotism for most Americans.

The “American-made” or “Made in the US” stamp can be powerful in marketing your specialized products. Buying a product that is locally manufactured results in giving permanent jobs and healthy economic growth to the US economy.

Being aware of well-maintained standards of manufacturing and labor, as well as the great quality of products found in the US, makes a consumer confident about a product made by a US manufacturer.

If you choose to outsource to an overseas manufacturer, you usually face the risk of giving away your money, as well as your ideas and innovation to foreign people. There are several risks involved in choosing a manufacturer far from your business operations.

When you encounter problems, you will have to spend time and money – required to travel overseas to correct the problems. That’s why it’s better to avoid complications and communication issues brought about by language barriers, and to make sure your ideas are protected by choosing a USbased manufacturer.

Higher quality of manufacturing: In regards to manufacturing in the US against outsourcing an overseas manufacturer, it is a fact that the US has higher standards in terms of quality and labor compared to manufacturers in several different countries.

Manufacturers based in the US need to follow strict labor laws, and have good quality work conditions for their employees. It is hard to debate on choosing a manufacturer when you are very much aware of the standards that need to be maintained by manufacturers based in the US.

In many other countries, there are manufacturing companies that have overworked and underpaid workers. Poor working environments can have a negative effect on workers, which often leads to poor quality products.

Opting for a US-based manufacturer is the best choice for any business, especially when it is also located in the US. A company or business that chooses a US manufacturer is making an investment in the US labor market and economy – since it provides permanent jobs to residents, and contributes to the economy in a positive way.

Convenience plus On-time Delivery: If your product is highly specialized and requires reliability, on-time delivery plus quick turnaround, you should hire a manufacturer that is based in the US. When you are in the business of selling specialized goods, you don’t want to take the risk of supplying your customers with defective products.

It is just like throwing money away, since in the long run, you will most likely spend more money on a poorly made product. That is the problem with majority of foreign manufacturers. You are facing the risk of getting products that are too defective to sell, or not up to the mark in terms of quality.

You may think that you are saving money since they are cheap to make. However, the truth is, they are cheaply made. Aside from that, products that are made overseas and shipped back to the US can take too long to arrive. Furthermore, weeks can become months, if ever there is some delay in manufacturing.


Manufacturing a Custom Product and Private Label Merchandise


There’s nothing more frustrating than imagining the perfect product, scouring the internet for it, and coming up empty handed. When you have a particular item in mind, you probably have it down to the exact color, material, shape, and size. As you begin Googling, you realize what a daunting task it is hunting for your vision, yet anything less than perfect is just plain disappointing. This especially rings true when you’re searching for a particular item that matches your company’s brand message and style guide.

Companies spend countless hours fine-tuning their brand with the perfect strategy and design language, and the same scrutiny is required when designing private label merchandise. What good is a private label handbag if the color does not match when sitting beside the rest of the collection, the style does not appeal to the target audience, or the material is lacking in quality? Nine times out of ten, you may be able to find a bag that is close to what you are searching for, but it may be mission impossible to find one that fits all of your criteria. When it comes to a company’s brand, why settle for anything less than perfect? Why spend hours on end searching for a very specific product when you aren’t even sure it exists? The solution: create a signature custom manufactured product!

When you create a custom signature product that represents your brand, you are making a bold statement, and you need an item that your company will stand behind. The strength of a signature piece is the full alignment with your brand and brand strategy. Signature pieces are used for many purposes, including reselling, gift with purchase, promotional give away, events marketing (e.g., themed events), corporate gifts, and many more. For each purpose, the signature piece exudes quality, in other words, you didn’t opt for the more affordable, standard, stock bag. Signature products provide you the opportunity to be a visionary and create a signature, one-of-a-kind piece.

So what keeps people from creating a custom signature product for reselling, promotional giveaways, events marketing, corporate gifts, etc? After all, it may be the only way to guarantee a perfect match with your vision and your company’s brand strategy. The usual culprits are price, time limitations, and finding a reliable source. However, these 3 variables actually turn out to be myths instead of obstacles.

Overseas production can take 12+ weeks for production and shipping. It’s a misnomer that you cannot get great quality products at affordable prices right here in the states. Domestic factories, although less in numbers than overseas factories, still exist and production for custom signature pieces are not only affordable, but can be done within 4 weeks time frame. Check around before making the assumption that overseas production is the only way to go. Sometimes overseas is the best option, but be aware that custom manufacturing has become much more affordable in recent years and the quality of made in USA products are hard to beat.

Finally, when ordering large quantities of custom items, how can you be certain that you are working with a reliable manufacturer who understands your brand, your vision and will deliver the perfect product to you? Find a source who has a proven track record and quality check points throughout the process. Check out their portfolio. Find out who else has ordered custom signature products from them in the past to ensure their reputation is strong. Most solid companies will provide mock-ups, prototypes, samples, and swatches along the way so that you can be sure you will end up with exactly what you envisioned. If their process is easy and seamless, chances are that they have fulfilled many successful orders in the past and have lots of happy customers.


Who Needs Product Liability Insurance?


What do investors, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers have in common?

If you guessed product liability exposure, you are correct. Each of these business people share the risk of product malfunction or danger for merchandise put out to the public.

Here are five different but related types of insurance coverage that can shield a commercial enterprise from loss or damage as a result of error. The following forms of coverage can protect from a liability claim and lawsuit.

Product Tampering Insurance Coverage

Although a business making a product accessible to the general populace is not behind a tampering incident, it can be liable for damages. Product tampering insurance covers you in the event someone else tampered with or warned you of the possibility that a product may be corrupted.

Associated coverage extends to the following.

• Eradication of the manipulated merchandise

• Loss of earnings

• Expenses related to recalling the merchandise

• Costs associated with repairing or restoring products

This type of insurance does not include third-party liability. It also does not cover any related extortion costs.

Product Warranty Ineffectiveness Insurance Coverage

Likened to a specialized surety or bond, the product warranty ineffectiveness policy was first created for investors and/or manufacturers that produced alternative forms of energy sources. The coverage protects form financial damages that occur when there the system does not work as it should. Presently, this form of coverage is also offered to investors and/or manufacturers of other kinds of products.

Product Hazardous/New Products Liability Insurance Coverage

Certain kinds of manufactured products are more liable to hazardous liability. This can include products such as:

• Drugs or medication

• Cosmetic products

• Chemicals

• Car parts

• Other products that are subject to hazard and related damages

For the most part, the specialty insurance market offers hazardous liability insurance for products.

Products Liability-Retroactive Insurance Coverage

This insurance coverage exchanges the policyholder’s claims-made form for an occurrence form. Insurance can be tailor-made to give coverage for:

• A specific amount of time that retroactively protects claims from particular months going back


• Comprehensive occurrence coverage that dates back to initial date of claims-made insurance


• Continuous occurrence coverage that protects against all former acts

It is possible to also gain occurrence coverage by using an insurance policy that increases the time span of detecting the claims-made form that has not been renewed for an identified amount of years or for an unlimited time.

Product Recall Expense Insurance Coverage

The product-recall expense policy gives the insured greater expense coverage – more so than a legal liability coverage. Direct costs involved in a product recall are covered.

Examples of product recall expenses are:

• Communications costs

• Shipping charges

• TV, radio broadcast costs

• Payment to required added employees

• Overtime pay for regular staff

• Product destruction costs


Product Liability – A Guide to the Facts


Defective products, whether the defect lies in the design or the production or manufacture, can cause serious injury and even death. Product liability refers to responsibility for harm caused by a product. A product can be poorly designed, so that it fails to discharge its intended function, and by its failure causes harm to its user. A product can be properly and safely designed, yet defects in its manufacturing can make it harmful or dangerous to the end user. An appropriately designed and manufactured product can be marketed with inaccurate or misleading instructions, or fail to warn consumers of dangers inherent in the product.

Products liability laws state that all members of a distribution chain—the designer, the manufacturer, suppliers of component parts, the wholesaler, and the retail store that sold the product-can all be held responsible for a dangerous or defective product.

A products liability case does not hinge on the defendant’s care or lack of care. If the product is shown to be defective, a defendant is liable whether the manufacturer or supplier exercised appropriate care or not. If the product has a defect that causes harm, the defendant can be held liable for the harm caused.

Experienced product liability attorneys provide legal counsel on a broad range of products liability cases, including automotive products, , recreational vehicles, construction equipment, aircraft and their component parts, consumer products, over the counter medications, including supplements, medical devices, children’s toys, clothes, and other products and many other categories.

While products are generally taken to mean tangible personal property, products liability law includes intangibles such as a gas, animals, real estate such as a house or an office building, and intellectual property such as navigational charts.

A consumer or user of a product who has been harmed by the use of a product containing inherent defects can seek damages. The person seeking damages need not be the owner of a product; someone to whom the product was loaned or given, or who was required to use the product as part of their work could also pursue a claim.

Product liability is determined by state law, and products liability cases are litigated in state courts. To pursue a products liability claim, you will need to find an experienced product liability lawyer in your state.


Why Do People Prefer Brand Name Products?


When given people are given the choice to buy a brand name product or a lower priced “no-name”/generic product, they often prefer brand name products. They are not very concerned about how much they spend for Nike sportswear, Poma Shoes and Oshkosh children’s clothing. But when it comes to cheaper no-name products they look down upon them and consider them unusable. So many generic products end up on the clearance or reduction shelves. Why do people think brand names are so much better than generic? Are they really better? Perhaps we have been tricked into believing that generic or cheaper products are unworthy?

More than a hundred years ago, businesses started the idea of branding products so that people would find it easier to know the difference between premium manufactured products and the products which are cheaper and less known.

Manufacturers of the late 1800’s, created packaging, labels and advertising so that customers would easily recognize and find their favourite products on the store shelves. This identical branding method continues to be used to allow people all over the world to easily identify the superior quality products of America over less trustworthy products on the marketplace.

Traditionally, the USA is recognized for their high quality brand name products which enable them to have the power to charge higher prices. People worldwide know just what they are receiving when they buy from the US.

It is standard for product brands to be reliable and high in value. When a customer trusts a brand name product they will most likely purchase the product/service repeatedly. Therefore, repeat customers raise the profits of brand products much more than generic brands.

When a customer chooses a product, their memory is triggered and they remember a television commercial they saw, or a jingle they heard on the radio or the big sign they see while driving home from work every day. This makes them familiar with the product more than inexpensive products. Even if you are not in a store, some of the jingles you have heard get stuck in your head and you find yourself singing or humming them.

Does branding a product work with internet sales? Branding a web site is more essential than the branding of separate products. Studies reveal that online buyers look more for sites that they can trust and sell what they want at lower prices than the actual brands that are for sale. Therefore, web sites which sell products need to take extra time to advertise their website more than the product itself.

The purpose of most advertising methods is to learn about what customers are searching for and make it available to them. In conventional retail stores, superior qualities branded products are very important. At the same time, people who buy products on the internet are looking for better than ever quality web sites.

By: Kathryn Ali

Copyright 2007


Private Label Manufacturing Explained


One of the key drivers of many first world economies would be manufacturing; the United States is no different. Over the years, billions upon billions of dollars have been pumped into the manufacturing process in order to improve the associated technologies and bring down costs. There are numerous established manufacturers in the country today; you can view their products in convenience stores, supermarkets and pretty much every other place of business.

Despite the fact that there are better manufacturing technologies to be found in today’s modern world, it is still quite difficult for every Tom, Dick and Harry in business to manufacture their own products. This is because the cost of setting up a manufacturing plant is significantly high; in addition, one requires a team of professionals with a high level of expertise in various aspects of manufacturing in order to have everything up and running as smoothly as possible.

Be this as it may; it is still possible for the average business person to manufacture their own products without incurring heavy costs, courtesy of private label manufacturing. To fully understand what this particular term means, it is necessary to first and foremost define the first two words: private label. In the simplest definition, a private label is a brand that is owned neither by a producer nor a manufacturer but rather by an individual or business entity that contracts a manufacturer to make the said branded product for them.

Pretty much all consumer products can be manufactured under this kind of arrangement, from private label supplements, private label cosmetics to private label foods; the list is endless. The main idea behind private manufacturing is to provide a low-cost alternative to mainstream products. The purpose may also be to avail to consumers an existing product in a different form. A good example of the latter is a private label vitamin supplement in liquid form as an alternative to solid vitamin pills.

In recent times, a few private labels have actually risen to give international and regional brands a run for their money. The approach in this case is to market a private label as a premium alternative – one that offers higher value than what people have been used to.

In order to achieve great success with a private label, one must first find a specific niche where a particular need exists. It is this need that one should then aim to fully satisfy and more importantly with a product that not only adds value to customers but one that is more affordable too.

A professional private manufacturer is one who offers the full package as far as product manufacturing is concerned. This includes: product formulation and development; research; testing; full service graphic design and logistics. The importance of a high quality final product cannot be overstated and therefore one should endeavour to find a manufacturer with a high level of expertise and experience.

If one is just starting out, chances are that they will not need large volumes of whatever product they are looking to have manufactured. In this case, it is necessary to find a manufacturer who accepts small minimum orders – most are known to accept only large minimum orders, something that disfavours small businesses with limited finances.