SANTA CLARA -- Construction resumed Thursday morning on the 49ers new $1.3 billion stadium, but not before workers gathered in the morning for a safety meeting that included a moment of silence for the elevator mechanic who was killed in a work accident.
Workers gathered in the south end zone at 7 a.m. to remember Donald White, 63, according to stadium project co-director Jonathan Harvey. They also acknowledged first responders, including the Santa Clara police and fire departments during the meeting for their "heroic efforts and professionalism in our crisis," Harvey said.
In what Harvey described as a "tradition unique to our industry," buckets were passed through the crowd to allow workers to make financial
contributions for White's family. The money likely won't be counted, and instead the buckets will be delivered to White's family to "help fund what's ahead," Harvey said.
Workers were also given circular stickers with White's initials in red and gold, with an American flag underneath it, to place on their hard hats, Harvey said.
The 49ers and Santa Clara Stadium Authority will plant a tree in the west plaza in honor to "memorialize Donald White and his efforts on the stadium," Harvey said.
Harvey said he told workers to continue a buddy system and look out for each other on the job site.
"The hearts are heavy," Harvey said. "It's been a difficult time. Everybody has the family in mind. But I think getting some normalcy
back to the construction workers and their lives is important."
Somber workers began steadily flowing into the job site about 6 a.m. Thursday morning for the first time White's death Tuesday morning.
Joey Jardine of Fremont, an electrician working on the project, said safety is a constant concern for construction workers, who often work in dangerous conditions.
"It's always there," Jardine said. "You try and be as careful as you can. Safety is daily, especially on a big project like this."
Jardine said he did not know White. However, he believes workers who knew him will be able to meet with grief counselors who have been called onto the job site.
"You start to get to know these guys more than your family," Jardine said.
White's death halted work on the stadium and sent more than a 1,000 colleagues home for two days.
White was standing on a ladder at the bottom of one of the elevator shafts an hour after sunrise Tuesday when he was hit by a counterweight and killed, according to a preliminary report by Cal-OSHA, the state's workplace safety watchdog.
The accident was reported around 6:50 a.m. on the ground floor of the stadium, a construction official said. Santa Clara police,
firefighters and Cal-OSHA were then contacted, which is routine in such circumstances.
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