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Fines in Worker Death at 49ers Stadium

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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California labor officials have fined a global steel company $36,750 in the death of a worker at the San Francisco 49ers' stadium project in Santa Clara.

Edward Erving Lake, Jr., 60, was fatally crushed Oct. 14, 2013, by a bundle of rebar that was being unloaded from his truck at the site.

Edward Lake Jr.

Edward Erving Lake, Jr., 60, was crushed by rebar during unloading at the site last October.

The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) cited Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West, of Santa Fe Springs, CA, with two serious and one general safety violations. The company is also known as Santa Fe Springs Reinforcing Steel and was formerly known as Pacific Coast Steel.

The Santa Fe Springs company is one of 60 rebar fabrication locations owned by Gerdau Longsteel North America, the leading producer of long steel in the Americas.

Gerdau did not respond to a request for comment Friday (April 11). The company has 15 business days to contest the citations, which were issued Thursday (April 10).

Previous Death

Lake was the second worker killed on the $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium project, set to open this year.

On June 11, 2013, a 63-year-old elevator mechanic was struck and killed by an elevator counterweight while working on a ladder in an elevator shaft at the stadium. Cal/OSHA imposed $54,000 in fines against Schindler Elevator Corp. following that accident.

Schindler is contesting the citations, according to reports.

Investigation Details

According to Cal/OSHA documents, investigators found that Lake was employed by Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West to deliver rebar for the project.

During the unloading process, an unsecured bundle of rebar, approximately 30 feet long, was pushed off the side of the truck bed and crushed Lake as he stood outside the cab on the driver’s side of the truck.


Gerdau is a leading producer of long steel in the Americas and a major global supplier of specialty long steel, according to its website.

“The driver was undetected by an employee standing on the truck bed and an employee operating a forklift on the passenger side,” the labor officials said.

Fire and police reports relate that Lake was taken to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, due to blunt head trauma.

Following the incident, Gerdau, as well as Turner / Devcon, the project’s general contractor, issued statements of sympathy to Lake’s family and friends.

Citations and Fines

Cal/OSHA imposed one serious citation, carrying an $18,000 fine, against the company for allegedly failing to implement and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program for the hazards involved in unloading reinforcing steel from trucks.

San Francisco 49ers Stadium
HNTB Architecture

The new San Francisco 49ers' stadium in Santa Clara is scheduled to open this year. It was designed by HNTB Architecture. The general contractor is Turner / Devcon.

Gerdau was fined an additional $18,000 for failing to ensure that loads were secure against dangerous displacement by proper piling or other securing measures, according to Cal/OSHA.

The employer also faces a general safety violation, carrying a $750 fine, for allegedly failing to have a written Code of Safe Practices which addressed unloading of reinforcing steel from trucks and ensuring employees in the area are protected from harm by rebar accidentally displaced during unloading.

Past Violations

According to OSHA’s database, Gerdau has a lengthy record of past safety violations throughout the country.

For example, in 2010, the steel producer was fined $28,000 and issued 12 citations after a worker was struck and killed by a forklift at a steel mill in Georgia. In that case, three of the citations were deleted and penalties were dropped to $10,800 through informal settlement negotiations, according to OSHA’s database.

More recently, in January 2013, the company was fined $900, later reduced to $720, for five other-than-serious safety violations in Tennessee, agency records show.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; OSHA; Rebar; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Steel

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