A state workplace safety agency today announced it is resuming an investigation into a company building an elevator at the San Francisco 49ers’ planned new stadium in Santa Clara where a man was killed in June.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reported it had rescinded its decision giving Schindler Elevator a notice that no violation occurred in the June 11 death of Donald White, Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Erika Monterroza said.
Cal/OSHA also revealed some new details in the probes of the deaths of White and Edward Erving Lake Jr., who died at the Levi Stadium construction site on Oct. 14.
The $1.3 billion Levi Stadium project is to serve as the new home for the 49ers when it is completed next summer.
The choice Cal/OSHA made today to revive its investigation into White’s death came after “some questions were raised, so they are looking at the evidence,” Monterroza said.
The agency, which is not releasing the new questions concerning the White investigation, had mailed Schindler the notice of no violation on Oct. 14, Monterroza said.
The agency has until Dec. 11, six months after the accident that killed White, to complete the investigation and decide whether Schindler violated state safety codes, according to Monterroza.
Cal/OSHA can fine a company $7,000 for general and regulatory violations, $25,000 for a serious violation and from $5,000 to $70,000 for a willful violation of occupational safety codes, according to Greg Siggins, a Cal/OSHA spokesman.
White, 63, an experienced mechanic for subcontractor Schindler, was killed while standing beneath the counterweight of an elevator at the stadium site, according to Cal/OSHA public information officer Kathleen Hennessy.
Cal/OSHA has since revealed that prior to the fatal accident, White “was in communication with the person operating the elevator and was aware the elevator was in operation, but did not move,” Hennessy said.
“It’s still somewhat of a mystery” why White did not move while knowing the elevator was coming down toward him, Hennessy said.
The investigation into Lake, an employee of subcontractor Gerdau Ameristeel, found that the 61-year-old truck driver was killed when a bundle of rebar being unloaded from his truck by a forklift fell off the side of his truck and on top of him, Hennessy said.
The 30-foot-long bundle contained 30 pieces of steel rebar, used to reinforce concrete, Hennessy said.
“This is another open investigation,” Hennessy said. “For the moment, no citations have been issued, but they might be.”
Jonathan Harvey, project co-director for Turner Devcon, the stadium project’s general contractor, said that Cal/OSHA had not released information to him about the investigations and so he could not comment.
Jeff Burbank, Bay City News