June 16, 2008

Feds Launch Inquiry into Cowboys Stadium Accidents

By Andrea Ahles, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jun. 16--Federal officials have opened investigations into the two accidents that occurred at the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington last week, including the one in which a worker died.

Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were already on site Saturday examining the crane from Thursday's accident when a worker was electrocuted, OSHA spokeswoman Diana Petterson said.

The agency has six months to complete its investigations, although reports on the Saturday fatality and the crane incident, where three people were hospitalized, could be completed sooner, Petterson said.

Since work began on the $1.1 billion stadium project in April 2006, 175 incidents have been reported through May 2008, said Keith Cooper, construction manager with general contractor Manhattan Construction. These incidents include minor scratches, broken bones, sore backs and eye irritation.

Manhattan initiated new safety procedures in May after a sharp increase in these incidents, Cooper said. The company is in a partnership with OSHA to provide extra safety training for employees.

Despite these incidents, Cooper said, "The incidents have had little or no impact on the schedule."

OSHA investigated two previous major accidents at the site. In January 2007, a worker fell through a hole, and the contractor, Capform, was fined $10,000. Petterson said the company contested the citation.

Later that year, a man was hit in the back with a crane hook. OSHA found no violations but issued the employer, also Capform, a warning letter, she said.

ANDREA AHLES, 817-548-5523


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