Construction Workers Return to Levi's Stadium

A safety meeting be held before work on the stadium resumes

Construction resumed on the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara this morning, two days after a worker was killed there in an elevator shaft accident.

"We've started back on the project, but our hearts are heavy," said Jonathan Harvey, stadium project co-director for general contractor Turner-Devcon.   

A moment of silence was held this morning for fallen worker Donald White, 63, as his colleagues gathered on the field of the future Levi's Stadium for a morning briefing before work started up again, Harvey said.      

The workers were given stickers bearing White's initials and an American flag to attach to their hardhats. Buckets with photos of White attached to them were passed around to collect cash for White's grieving loved ones, Harvey said.

"Everyone was pitching in for Don's family," he said.

White was killed at about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday when an elevator counterweight struck him in the head as he stood on a ladder, according to Turner-Devcon and the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the death.   

White died at the scene. The circumstances of the accident remain under investigation.   

Harvey said he emphasized to workers this morning that safety is paramount. His remarks were repeated by a Spanish translator, he said. 

"I delivered the safety message that we continue the 'buddy system' and we work together," he said.

White was an employee of subcontractor Schindler Elevator Corp. and had worked in his trade for 43 years, according to Harvey.

"He did what he enjoyed," Harvey said.

Harvey said the 49ers, the city of Santa Clara and the Stadium Authority have come up with a plan to plant a tree and install a plaque in White's honor in the stadium's west plaza.

In addition, the 49ers are looking into placing White's name on a memorial brick somewhere at the stadium, project co-director Robert Rayborn said.     

White's union, International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 8, is setting up a memorial fund for him, Rayborn said.   

Funeral arrangements will be announced on the websites of Turner-Devcon and Schindler, Harvey said.

The $1.3 billion stadium at Centennial Boulevard and Tasman Drive, which city officials said is more than 50 percent complete, is slated to open in 2014.    

Work was halted after the death and resumed this morning only after the site was deemed safe by Cal/OSHA, Harvey said. The pause in construction allowed "everyone to collect themselves and give respect to the family," he said.

Bay City News

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