Improper Use of Fall Protection Leads to Injuries in Fall at Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Two workers sustained injuries after falling from an upper section of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium roof to a lower portion of the dome on December 3, 2010.
The incident occurred at approximately 7 a.m. The two employees of Birdair of Amherst, N.Y., a subcontractor to Manhattan Construction Co. of Dallas, were preparing to access the high roof of the stadium’s retractable dome to finalize work on the fabric roof seams, slipped on ice and slid down some 250-ft of the main roof to a gutter at the bottom, according to a statement from Manhattan officials. Birdair spokesperson Michelle Roth declined to comment and referred Texas Construction to its general counsel Karen Mathews, who confirmed the iron workers worked for Birdair.
Arlington Fire Department Assistant Chief Don Crowson, talking with reporters, indicated one of the men sustained head, chest and back injuries and was transported by air ambulance to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and the other injured his back and was taken by ground ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Manhattan Construction said both men were in stable condition.
Initially, the fire department reported that the men were not wearing safety harnesses. However, Crowson later told Texas Construction in an email response to questions, an officer from an officer from Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 reported that a member of his crew “did in fact remove the safety harnesses from the victims.
“So it is apparent that they were wearing harnesses...but were not attached to an anchor. The company officer apologies for any confusion on this issue.”
Elizabeth Todd, spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, says the agency has opened an investigation into the December 3 fall.
Both the Cowboys organization and Manhattan have experienced safety incidents in the recent past. Three employees of Derr Steel Erection of Euless, a subcontractor to Manhattan Construction on the stadium project, were injured and hospitalized in a crane accident while building the new stadium in June 2008. Days after the crane incident, according to information posted by a Cowboys staff writer at the team’s official Web site, a journeyman electrician, working for subcontractor JMEG Electrical of Dallas, died while working on the stadium project.
On November 18, 2009, Manhattan Construction issued a press release, reporting it had completed more than 2 million work hours without a lost workday and credited its “national award-winning safety program.”
In May 2009, the Cowboys’ practice facility in Irving collapsed during a thunderstorm, injuring 12 people. A National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, study determined the wind-load demands exceeded the structure’s capacity to resist the storm’s 55 mph to 65 mph winds. Summit Structures of Allentown, Pa., manufactured that 80-ft tall, pre-engineered, steel-framed, fabric-covered membrane building at its Cover-All Building Systems manufacturing plant in Saskatoon, Canada.