Cal/OSHA reopens probe into death at Levi's Stadium

State safety regulators are re-starting their investigation into a fatal accident that happened in June at the new 49ers stadium.
October 23, 2013 11:47:05 AM PDT
The state agency looking into the deaths of two workers at the new San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is reopening the investigation into the death of one of the workers, a man killed in an elevator accident last June.

This all comes a week and a half after the second death as safety is on the minds of the workers at Levi's Stadium. They say a few changes have taken place since last week's death at the construction site and a new revelation that Cal-OSHA is taking another look at its investigation into the death of a worker back in June.

Workers started arriving in Santa Clara at the new stadium around 6:15 Wednesday morning. They're still dealing with the death of Edward Lake Jr. last week. Cal-OSHA says the 61-year-old truck driver was killed when a bundle of rebar being unloaded by a forklift fell off the side of his truck and on top of him at about 6:30 a.m. October 14.

Workers say since then, their start time has been moved back a half hour to 7 a.m. so they can have more light. "We're making changes, definitely, with the lighting and stuff. That's a factor," Mike Neff told ABC7 News.

"Every morning we do a team briefing, you know, what are you going to do? How are you going to be safe? So safety is key in this industry. You have to be thinking of your fingers and toes, and I want to go home and take care of my family," Zach McRea said.

Cal-OSHA is shining new light on what happened when 63-year-old Don White was killed by the counterweight of an elevator on June 11. A spokeswoman says white was communicating with the operator and was aware the elevator was working. She says it's still somewhat of a mystery why he didn't move knowing the elevator was coming down toward him.

Cal-OSHA originally gave his employer, subcontractor Schindler Elevators, a notice that no violation occurred. A spokeswoman told ABC7 News that it was in the final review stage before an experienced cal-OSHA staff person raised some questions and rescinded that notice. There has been no word on what those questions were.

Cal-OSHA can fine a company anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000 per violation.

As for the workers killed recently at the stadium site, nothing can bring back what was taken away in an instant. "It's tragic for them, for the families, for the job. It's a reminder to? take life for what it is and enjoy the moments because that quick, it can happen out here," McRea said.

Cal-OSHA says it has six months from the date of the accident to finish its investigation which means the report on Don White must be completed by December 11.


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