On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, around 6:45 a.m., seasoned elevator mechanic Donald White, 63, a 43-year industry veteran, was struck and killed by a counterweight while working on a ladder in an elevator pit. The elevator was being constructed by Schindler at the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, a $1.3 billion project expected to be completed in 2014. Cal/OSHA is investigating the accident and expects to have a completed report in approximately six months. It was not immediately clear what caused the counterweight to move while Mr. White was in the pit. This is the first major incident reported so far during the stadium’s construction.
Elevator accidents involving counterweights generally involve elevator personnel, as in this case, although we have documented at least two other recent cases involving non-elevator personnel that entered the elevator pit to clean the pit and to retrieve dropped keys. Besides counterweight collisions in the pit, elevator mechanics and inspectors can be struck by the counterweight as the car and the counterweight pass each other halfway up the hoistway. Working with a ladder in a pit is especially dangerous as it will reduce or eliminate available refuge space while also potentially introducing a foreign object into that space.
Sources reporting this incident include:
- CBS San Francisco – Worker Killed at 49ers Santa Clara Stadium Construction Site
- ContraCostaTimes.com – Work halted after elevator mechanic killed at site of new 49ers stadium
- Construction worker dies in accident at 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium
- KRON4 – Worker Crushed to Death in Elevator Shaft at 49er Stadium