CalGeo E Newsletter

October 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Welcome to our first anniversary edition of the e.Geo! It was one year ago this month that our first e.Geo was published and delivered directly to your inbox. Our goal has been to keep you better informed of the latest trends and studies, industry events, legislative updates and industry news that matters to geotechnical professionals.


Happy Anniversary »

November Regional Meeting »

Legislative Update »

Safety First »


Speaking of anniversaries, did you know that CalGeo is celebrating 40 years of success as the California geotechnical engineering association? We're pretty proud of our accomplishments over the years and thank you for your continued input and support.

We hope that you enjoy this month's e.Geo and find it informative and useful. Thanks for reading!

Marsha Myers
Executive Director


November Regional Meeting: Seismic Earth Pressures on Deep Building Basements

Dinner Meeting or Webcast

CalGeo will be hosting our next Regional Dinner Meeting on November 9 at the Doubletree Hotel Santa Ana/OC Airport, and will be webcasting the event live to member firm offices throughout the state. Dr. Marshall Lew, Senior Principal and Vice President of MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc., will discuss Seismic Earth Pressures on Deep Building Basements.

The meeting will begin with a networking session starting at 5:30 p.m. Dinner service will begin at 6 p.m. and the presentation will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Webcast host sites will begin at 6 p.m. with a hosted casual dinner followed by the 7 p.m. program.

Click Here for Registration.


Regional Meeting Webcast

Can’t make it to Santa Ana? CalGeo now webcasts our Regional Dinner Meetings to bring the event to more members at more locations. We are pleased to announce that 14 locations throughout the state will be webcasting this event.

Please click here for a list of locations and to register.


About the Topic

The International Building Code and ASCE 7-05 require that earth retaining structures and basement walls be designed for seismic earth pressures. Although there are many documented failures of retaining structures during earthquakes, almost all are associated with some form of soil-related failure in loose or poorly compacted soils in waterfront or marine locations or associated with embankments, slope instability or liquefaction. There have been no reports of damage to building basement walls as a result of seismic earth pressures in recent United States earthquakes, including the 1971 San Fernando, 1987 Whittier Narrows, 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge earthquakes, or in the 1995 Kobe, Japan or 1999 Chi Chi, Taiwan earthquakes. Dr. Lew will discuss various methods for designing earth retaining structures and basement walls, and recent studies that will help guide your future efforts.

About the Speaker

Our presenter will be Dr. Marshall Lew. He is a Senior Principal and Vice President of MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. in Los Angeles. As a specialist in geotechnical and earthquake engineering, he has been involved with numerous seismic design requirements for electrical power systems, dams, bridges, tunnels, high-rise buildings, transportation systems, industrial complexes, hospitals, schools, universities and public buildings. Dr. Lew is a graduate of UCLA having earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He was a member of the Seismology Committee of the Structural Engineers Association of So. California for more than 10 years, and was chair of the Site Effects Subcommittee. These committees were responsible for developing seismic code provisions for the Uniform Building Code.

Click Here for Registration.




Legislative Update

Senate Bills 1008 and 972

Thanks to your support, two of the bills that CalGeo supported this last legislative session were passed and signed into law.  SB 1008 allows engineering design professionals to form Limited Liability Partnerships, a useful form of business organization for projects with a finite duration with services being offered by several different types of ongoing business.  In the past, attorneys, accountants and architects have been authorized to form LLPs, and given the fact that registered engineers and land surveyors in most of the other states are allowed to form them, this bill closes a significant gap in our laws.

Also, SB 972 was signed by the Governor in response to the support letters and lobbying efforts of our members.  Unfortunately, the final form of the bill (which faced extreme opposition from many public- and private-sector organizations) only eliminates the duty of the design professional to defend public agencies.  This was not the intent of the original bill, which sought to simply overturn the Crawford and UDC rulings.  Though the outcome of this bill was not exactly what ACEC and CalGeo were hoping for, it is still an important step in the right direction.  If you have any questions regarding this bill or future efforts to overturn these legal rulings, we suggest contacting the bill’s author, Senator Lois Wolk, at




Safety First

A List to Avoid - Cal/OSHA's Top Safety Violations

"Courtesy of the California State Compensation Insurance Fund"

As part of its mission to promote workplace safety, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) conducts inspections around the state. Each year, Cal/OSHA releases a list of the most frequent violations of safety standards. Here are the hazards that show up on the citations list year after year:

- Injury and Illness Prevention Program
- Hazard communication program
- Respiratory protection
- Portable fire extinguishers
- Reporting workplace fatality or serious injury
- Fall protection, scaffolding, and ladders
- Machine guarding (general/lockout-blockout)
- Electrical (general/wiring/guarding opening in electrical boxes)
- Powered industrial trucks (forklifts)
- Personal protective equipment
- Field sanitation and heat illness

Whenever your workplace is in violation of a Cal/OSHA safety regulation, you are putting your employees at risk of injury and your business at risk of a fine. Look around your operation and be aware of safety hazards that would prompt a violation. You want to make sure you don’t become part of next year's list.



Consultative assistance is provided to employers through on-site visits, telephone support, publications, eTools and educational outreach. All services provided by Cal/OSHA Consultation are provided free of charge to California employers. For more information, please visit the following link: Cal/OSHA Consultation Program




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