SANTA CLARA -- A steel subcontractor has been fined by Cal-OSHA for safety violations in the death of a worker who was crushed by falling building materials at the San Francisco 49ers stadium construction site in October.

Cal-OSHA, the state's workplace-safety watchdog, said in a report released Thursday that San Diego-based Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West did not have adequate safety practices to ensure Edward Erving Lake II, 60, of Vacaville, was out of harm's way when a load of rebar -- steel bars typically used to reinforce concrete -- slid off a flatbed truck and fell onto him the morning of Oct. 14.

Gerdau was fined $36,750 for three violations, two categorized as serious and one as general. Gerdau Ameristeel, the Tampa-based corporate parent, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

According to Cal-OSHA investigators, Lake, who worked out of Gerdau's Napa facility, drove a load of rebar to the southwest end of the stadium site and removed the nylon straps so two other workers could remove part of the load with a forklift.

But as the forklift operator tried to remove one bundle of rebar, it dislodged another bundle, which sent rebar rolling off the driver's side of the flatbed truck and onto Lake, who had been standing in the vicinity. Lake suffered massive head injuries and never regained consciousness.

The investigation found that sight lines were obscured between the forklift operator and where Lake was.


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It noted Gerdau did have posted rules advising drivers to either stay in the cab or well away from the truck bed during unloading, but the agency criticized the firm for not having procedures in place to ensure adherence.

The second "serious" violation cited by Cal-OSHA involved the lack of means to secure the rebar "against dangerous displacement during an unloading process."

A third "general" violation had to do with what Cal-OSHA said was an absence of policies specifically addressing the safe unloading of rebar.

The October fatality was the second in a four-month stretch at the stadium site last year.

In June, 63-year-old Donald White was working in an elevator shaft when he was hit in the head by a counterweight.

San Leandro-based Schindler Elevator initially avoided any citations in the death, but a subsequent internal review of the case by Cal-OSHA led to a $54,000 fine in December for three serious violations related to not having safeguards against the counterweight.

Schindler is appealing the fines.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.