Les Winter, P.E. Woodworking Machinery Expert & Electrical Engineer

Les Winter, Woodworking Machinery Expert & Electrical Engineer

Les Winter is a professional engineer who specializes in table saw, miter saw, band saw, circular saw (“skilsaw”) and other woodworking machinery-related injuries. As a professional engineer and an accomplished woodworker, he is regularly retained in casework involving equipment operations and maintenance, chair and furniture failures, as well as various other safety aspects, such as equipment modifications and safety guards, including sawstop and flesh sensing technology units.

Les also applies his expertise in casework involving electrical shock injuries and fires of electrical origin. He has provided electrical engineering consulting to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the New York City School Construction Authority and IBM on various construction projects. He's investigated electrical shocks, fires and other accidents for clients like Con Edison.

Les has been the primary electrical engineer for a number of New York City engineering firms. In those positions, he coordinated railroad, municipal park and high rise office building projects; and he directed installation and testing of high voltage service, transformers and switchgear. He specializes in New York State labor law, statutes 200, 240 and 241.

Les is a Professional Engineer in New York and New Jersey, and he's a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator. His professional affiliations include membership in the National Association of Fire Investigators.

Technical analysis, research, reports and testimony on electrical accidents, explosions, fires, electrocutions and damages to persons, equipment and property in industrial, commercial and residential settings.

Electrocutions and Shocks: Evaluation of causation of shocks originating from utility-line contact, electrical and electronic devices, equipment and wiring.

Lighting: Field measurement of lighting levels. Analysis of adequacy of lighting levels and compliance with prevailing codes and practices.

Lightning Strikes: Verification of strike/identification of other causes of damage. Evaluation of the adequacy and correct installation of lightning protection and grounding systems; compliance with codes and valuation of electrical damage.

Electrical Controls: Investigation of electrical control circuits and related devices for presses, pumps, blowers, compressors, fire alarm, water flow, signaling systems, gas detection systems, ventilation systems and computer-run heavy industrial equipment. Evaluation of functionality of switches, sensors, actuators, and controllers. Analysis of the safety of control system designs for machinery, equipment and plants.

Electrical Power: Investigation of malfunctioning, burned and exploded panelboards, circuit breakers, switchgear, motor controllers, lighting panels, lighting fixtures, contactors, starters, bus duct, feeders, wiring transformers, distribution systems and utility services. Analysis of code compliance.

Construction Claim Analysis: Delays, damages, methods and means, value engineering, CPM analysis, scheduling, negotiation, mediation and estimating for residential, school, commercial, large industrial, and rail/airport transportation projects. Analysis of bids, payment schedules, costs, impacts of delays, change orders and contract document interpretation.

Construction Design Document Analysis: Review of design documents prior to and following construction for completeness, design errors, constructability, coordination and safety.

Consumer Products: Analysis of coffee makers, home entertainment equipment, intercoms, automobiles, air-conditioners, computers, microwave ovens and other consumer products involved with fires and injuries.

Fires: Analysis of electrical causation of fires originating in utility lines and equipment, premises wiring, panelboards, switchgear, lighting fixtures, receptacles, transformers, consumer and industrial equipment, automobiles and electronics.

Sound: Field measurement and analysis of sound levels caused by construction, roadway and other sources. Determination of compliance with prevailing codes and practices.

Machinery: Guarding, interlocks, safe operation of pumps, blowers, woodworking equipment, saws.

Woodworking MacHinery Experience

1996 to present
Investigate woodworking machinery injuries including: mitre saw (“chopsaw”), hand (“skillsaw”), and table circular saw kickbacks, blade contacts, splitter and guard mis-alignments, interlocks, and control failures.

1995 to present
Designed and installed laboratory/shop for the testing of ladders and chairs and for furniture manufacture. Investigate chair failures, including tenon failures, screw pull-out and breakage, mechanism failures, and improper assembly.

1995 to present
Design, build, and test woodworking joints to determine strength and suitability for chair and other furniture use. Build and test wooden chairs for strength and suitability.

1995 to present
Rebuild and refurbish bandsaws. Rebuild and refurbish radial arm saws. Rebuild and refurbish table saws; modify, redesign, replace guarding. Design custom guarding. Redesign and modify hand planes.

1989 to present
Design and build furniture. Machinery and equipment used in the production of furniture include:

  • table saws
  • bandsaws
  • mitre saws
  • circular saws
  • jig/saber saws
  • radial arm saws
  • planers
  • jointers
  • grinders
  • sanders
  • hand tools
  • compressors
  • pneumatic nailers
  • drill presses
  • mortisers
  • routers
  • drills
  • plate joiners
  • lathes

2001
Attended Windsor Institute Chair Construction Seminar

1997
Wrote safety introduction for “The Accurate Table Saw,” a book concerning proper operation of table saws, including the nature of table saw hazards, means and methods of guarding (with Neal A. Growney, P.E.).

1997
Wrote portions of table saw operation manual for Wilke Machinery, including initial setup, alignment, anti-kickback and blade guard use, operating procedures and cautions (with Neal A. Growney, P.E., Ian Kirby, and John Kelsey).

1989
Attended Warwick Country Workshop seminars in hand tool modification and use, saw sharpening, joint construction, and woodworking machine use.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

1996 to present

Manager New York/Northern New Jersey Region 1996-2006

Provide technical assistance on electrically-related accidents, product and equipment defects and failures in construction, lighting, consumer products, machinery, fire alarm, communications, electronic equipment and fires. Analyze and report on construction claims and disputes. Coordinates investigations of other professionals.

Private practice

1989 to 1996

Provided consulting services to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Long Island Railroad, New York City School Construction Authority and IBM on construction projects. Provided design and condition surveys to banking institutions on high-rise office towers. Advised on construction cost and recommended value-engineering redesigns for electrical components of schools, airports, roadways, office buildings, and malls. Investigated electrical shocks, fires, and other accidents for a variety of other clients including Con Edison.

F. Levinson, Electrical Contractors

NYC Project Manager

1986 to 1989

NYC Project Manager for railroad, municipal park and high rise office building projects; designed and supervised field installation of electrical switchgear, machinery, transformers, motor controllers, lighting fixtures, circuitry, safety switches, railroad track devices, radio communication systems, fire alarm, security, and computer signaling. Designed and supervised testing procedures.

Hazen and Sawyer, Consulting Engineers, NYC

Chief Electrical Field Engineer

1984 to 1986

Directed installation and testing of high voltage service, transformers and switchgear, motor control centers, machinery, pump and fan controllers, and lighting system for major wastewater plant. Directed installation, testing, and calibration of computer-controlled instrumentation system including process sensors, fire, security, and communications.

Charles A. Manganaro, Consulting Engineers, NYC

Chief Electrical Field Engineer

1983 to 1984

Directed electrical equipment installation and safety procedures for major wastewater plant. Supervised testing of high-voltage distribution system including switchgear, motor controllers and transformers. Investigated motor control center fires. Wrote operation and maintenance manuals for machinery. Checked quality of work. Instructed owner's staff in safety, operations, and maintenance.

Charles A. Manganaro, Consulting Engineers, NYC

Power and Instrumentation Engineer

1981 to 1983

Designed power distribution, motor controls, instrumentation systems including: fire, smoke, security, temperature, pressure and flow for industrial facilities.

L.S. Wegman Engineers, NYC

Principal Engineer, Electrical/Instrumentation Group

1981

Designed electrical power and controls for wastewater pumping station including motor controls, gas detection system, security system, and pump controls. Directed electricians in the renovation of the company's new offices, including lighting, power, fire alarm, telephone, computer, and security.

Humboldt Wedag, Inc., Huntington, NY. Heavy Industrial Machinery Manufacturer

Electrical Engineer

1979 to 1981

Responsible for design of power and controls for heavy industrial machinery including automatic weighing equipment, heating, conveyors, pneumatic and hydraulically operated pistons, clamps, safety and emergency shutdowns, and computerized control systems. Directed electricians in the installation of motor control centers, switchboards, motors, sensors, relays, contactors, and safety switches. Supervised lockout-tagout procedures, safety testing, and grounding.

URS/Madigan-Praeger, Inc., NYC

Assistant to Chief Mechanical/Electrical Engineer

1974 to 1979

Responsible for electrical design of major projects which included lighting fixtures, motors and controls, instrumentation, motor control centers, switchboards, panelboards, receptacles, switches, circuit breakers, fuses, transformer, wiring, grounding, testing, fire alarm, communication, remote telemetry, remote control CCTV, security systems, mechanical system alarms, gas detection, protective relay coordination studies, short circuit studies, machinery, operation and maintenance manuals, construction supervision, and field inspection. Designed machinery for hazardous and explosive environments, naval and marine applications, docks and piers. Performed salvage surveys, repair and rehabilitation studies of existing facilities. Designed roadway bridge and toll plaza lighting systems. Designed control systems for machinery, pumps, motors, compressors, conveyors, doors, gates, valves, mixers, chemical systems. Projects included railroads (WMATA and BART), chemical plant control building (Exxon Bayway Refinery), sewage plant (Hunts Point Water Pollution Control Plant), pier design (Trident Submarine Pier Bremerton and renovations to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard).

Professional Registrations

  • Professional Engineer: New York, New Jersey
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator

Affiliations

  • Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
  • Member, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Member, National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)
  • Lecturer, New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, “Fire Investigation Basics”
  • Instructor, Continuing Education for Professional Engineers, “Fires of Electrical Origin,” 2007
  • Instructor, New York University (former)
  • Instructor, FDNY Fire Marshal Class, “Electrical Fires,” 2004, 2007, 2008
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Bureau of Fire Investigation, Fire Department of the City of New York

Education

City College of New York, BSEE

Publications

  • Table Saw Injuries and Safety – An Expert Witness Explanation, 2017
  • Miter Saw - Expert Introduction to Injuries and Safety Equipment, 2014
  • Why Do Table Saw Injuries Occur? 2014
  • Contributor: “A Better Way to Work; Part 7: Woodworking Essentials,” Table Saws with Marc Adams, Popular Woodworking, October 2008
  • “Safety Introduction,” The Accurate Table Saw
  • Bridgewood TSC-10 C Table Saw Instruction Manual
  • Ehrlich, H. & Winter, L., “The Essence of Workshop Safety,” Popular Woodworking, April 2006

v. 11/25/17

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