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Calif. OSHA Investigating Worker Deaths at 49ers Stadium, Cement Quarry

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The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is investigating the death last week of an elevator mechanic at the $1.3-billion Levi’s Stadium, being built for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara County. Donald White, 63, had been working on a ladder at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the early morning of June 11, when he was struck by an elevator counterweight and killed. White had been employed as an elevator mechanic for the past several years by Schindler Elevator Corp. of Morristown, N.J., according to a statement released by the subcontractor on the stadium project.

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Turner-Devcon, the joint venture contractor, which had suspended construction activity in the aftermath of the accident, resumed work on June 13 after a moment of silence to honor White and donations were collected for a memorial fund established in his honor at the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local No. 8.  Grief counselors will remain available to co-workers and friends as long as needed, according to project director Jonathan Harvey.

Cal/OSHA will release findings of the investigation in late November or early December, says public information officer Greg Siggins. If any violations are found, Schindler Elevator will be cited, but there have been no previous safety violations reported on the stadium jobsite, he says.

"Cal OSHA has not issued an Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) in this instance," Siggins adds. An OPU is issued when a Cal/OSHA enforcement engineer concludes that a condition or practice creates an imminent hazard, but that was found not to be the case at the jobsite.

However, Schindler Elevator was previously penalized $18,000 for an injury to an elevator worker at another California jobsite in 2011.

Meanwhile, on June 14, another worker in Santa Clara County was killed in an apparent single-vehicle driving accident at a Cupertino construction aggregate quarry. Cal/OSHA and police are investigating the death of Jose Gonzales, 49, at the Stevens Creek Quarry as an industrial accident.

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