Author

Kurt Niland

5296 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

California Pipeline Co. Fined $242K for Deadly Trench Collapse

A California pipeline company faces penalties of $242,500 for a deadly trench collapse it could have prevented had it followed basic safety rules. According to Cal/OSHA, on July 27 of last year, Platinum Pipeline Inc. of Livermore ordered its employees to grade the bottom of an unsecured 14-foot-deep trench even when it identified the soil as unstable. The workers, who were given no protection from a possible trench cave-in, were digging trenches to install two storm drain pipes at a residential construction site in Daly City. Three of the five workers were trained and competent in excavation processes and hazards, but ... Read More

NTSB Releases First Report on NY Limo Crash That Killed 20

Federal investigators have released a report on the limo crash that killed 20 people in Upstate New York in October, but the cause of the crash is yet to be determined. The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) preliminary report of the horrific Oct. 6 crash offers little insight into the potential causes but provides some details that investigators garnered after securing access to the wrecked limousine from the Schoharie County District Attorney’s office. According to the NTSB, the limo was a 2001 Ford Excursion with a wheelbase of 11 feet that had been modified to a length of 26 feet ... Read More

Whistleblowers Awarded $160,000 in Retaliation Case

A Connecticut awning manufacturer that wrongfully fired two employee whistleblowers for reporting safety and health violations on the job must pay the discharged workers a total of $160,000, a federal court has ruled. Two employees of Eastern Awning, which manufactures retractable fabric patio awnings in Watertown, Connecticut, filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after they became ill while working in the plant’s powder coat room in June 2009. OSHA investigated the whistleblower complaints and cited the company in December 2009 for willfully exposing the workers to inhalation hazards and for lack of adequate ventilation. While OSHA’s ... Read More

Tesla Cars Will Self-Drive by The End of 2019, Musk Says

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk says he’s 100 percent certain his company’s cars will be fully self-driving by the end of this year, but that safety regulators stand in the way of allowing driverless cars to operate. Many Tesla cars are already largely self-driving. Those vehicles equipped with the “autopilot” feature already allow drivers to let their guard down and let go of the wheel while the vehicle steers, brakes, and navigates itself. But in a recent interview, Mr. Musk said that advances in technology would allow “the car to find you in a parking lot, pick you up ... Read More

Pilot in Deadly SoCal Plane Crash Had Fake Cop ID

Authorities investigating a plane crash that killed five people and destroyed a suburban California home earlier this month say the pilot was in possession of fake papers indicating he was a retired Chicago police officer. Pilot Antonio Pastini, 75, who owned a sushi restaurant in Carson City, Nevada, and a number of other restaurants, departed Fullerton Municipal Airport on Feb. 3 and flew about 10 miles when his Cessna 41A broke apart and burst into flames in the air. Parts of the airplane were scattered across four blocks of a Yorba Linda neighborhood, but the largest part of the plane ... Read More

Family Blames Apple for Deadly iPad Fire

The family of a New Jersey man who died from severe burns in a fire allegedly caused by an iPad is suing Apple, alleging the device was “unreasonably dangerous and unsafe” due to defects in its design or manufacture or both. Bradley Ireland, 64, of Parsippany, New Jersey, was severely burned on Feb. 22, 2017, when the lithium-ion battery pack in his Apple iPad exploded in the kitchen of his apartment, triggering a fire that ultimately led to his severe burn injuries and his death later the same day. In their lawsuit, Mr. Ireland’s daughter Julia Ireland Meo and son ... Read More

OSHA Sides With Whistleblower In Retaliation Case Against Vermont Realty Co

Federal authorities took the side of a whistleblower who complained that his employer, a Vermont real estate company, fired him in retaliation for reporting what he believed were illegal transactions within the company. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it ordered Hermitage Club Realty LLC to pay the former employee/whistleblower $42,693 in back pay, bonuses, and compensatory damages. Hermitage Club Realty, the on-site realty agency of a luxury ski and golf development in Wilmington, Vermont, fired the employee on Dec. 18, 2017, after he filed a formal complaint with Vermont regulators, according to OSHA. OSHA investigated the ... Read More

QVC Warns of Trivet Magnets After Child’s Brush With Death

The television shopping network QVC is warning customers who purchased a Copper Chef cookware set about a silicone trivet containing powerful magnets that could be deadly if swallowed. The QVC warning comes after 3-year-old Monty Trias of Watertown, South Dakota nearly died after ingesting the high-powered magnets. Monty’s mother Emily Trias told Sioux Falls’ KELOLAND TV that she and her husband couldn’t figure out at first where the magnets that their son swallowed came from. Eventually, however, they discovered that they attached to the bottom of a flexible silicone trivet that came as part of the QVC cookware set. The ... Read More

Pressure Cooker Accidents Leave Kids With Lifelong Injuries

The Instant Pot pressure cooker craze that has swept the nation in recent years has inspired a multitude of manufacturers to cash in on the trend by making their own models. Unfortunately, in the rush to market, it seems that some pressure cooker models weren’t properly designed or manufactured, leaving unsuspecting consumers at risk of burns and other injuries. As we have seen in the past, many of the victims of pressure cooker malfunctions are children. Late last summer, an Idaho toddler was severely burned when the Sunday dinner his mother was cooking erupted from the pressure cooker, showering the ... Read More

Tractor-Trailer Driver Arrested In Deadly California Collision

An allegedly intoxicated tractor-trailer driver who caused a deadly six-vehicle pileup in Orcutt, California, will face at least two criminal charges, investigating authorities say. On Feb. 7, Gilbert Pena, 56, was driving a tractor-trailer on Highway 135 southbound in Orcutt when his truck slammed into the back of a Nissan sedan, killing 60-year-old Orcutt resident Rickie Motley and his passenger, 24-year-old Solvang resident Jesse Donald Gluyas. The collision drove the Nissan into four other vehicles causing a pileup that injured two other people. The California Highway Patrol doesn’t know why Mr. Pena drove his tractor-trailer into the cars, but an ... Read More