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Worker Killed at 49ers Stadium; Construction Is Halted

Image: Worker Killed at 49ers Stadium; Construction Is Halted

By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 08:57 AM

Authorities suspended construction on the new San Francisco 49ers stadium Tuesday after a worker was killed on-site.

Donald White, 63, a certified elevator mechanic with Schindler Elevator Corp., was found dead at the bottom of a shaft around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday at what will be Levi's Stadium, the $1.3 billion venue scheduled to open for the 2014 NFL season and play host to Super Bowl 50.

White was reportedly standing on a ladder and was hit with an elevator counterweight, which is carried on a cable to balance the weight of the cab, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

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"The city is devastated," Dan Beerman, a spokesman for the city, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "[General stadium contractor] Turner-Devcon has done such a great job with their safety plans. There's been 1,000 workers a day working at that site for almost a year now, and it's been amazingly safe. We can't explain how bad we feel about the family of the employee that died."

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is conducting an investigation to make sure there were no safety code violations that may have contributed to White's death.

Schindler, as White's employer, could be cited and fined anywhere from $7,000 to $70,000 depending on the severity of any violations found, according to CBS San Francisco. The investigation could take up to six months to complete.

Robert Rayborn, Turner-Devcon project co-director, said all safety precautions have been followed since the project started, and that his employees are not overworked or rushed.

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"There's nothing to indicate it was anything more than a normal work day and a terrible accident," Rayborn told reporters.

In 2011, Schindler was fined $18,000 after an apprentice mechanic fell about 20 feet down a shaft in Palo Alto, Calif. The worker's broken bones could have been prevented with protective equipment, according to a state report.

Construction will resume Thursday, police said.

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