Design defect could cause stadium light poles to fall - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Design defect could cause stadium light poles to fall

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 2,500 Whitco Company LP poles that are 70 feet tall or higher.

Whitco Company LP, was headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas but is now out of business.

The poles can fracture or crack and fall over, posing a risk of serious injury or death to patrons and bystanders from being hit or crushed. The poles range from 1 to 4 tons, increasing the risk of death if the pole falls toward a crowded stadium or onto a building.

As of June 2010, CPSC has confirmed eleven incidents in which Whitco Co. LP poles fell. In one incident, a pole fell through the roof of a school gymnasium causing significant property damage. In two other incidents, the poles fell onto outdoor bleachers causing significant property damage.

The latest incident occurred at Integrity Park Inc. in Argyle, Texas. The majority of incidents occurred in Texas with others in several other states where Whitco Co. LP poles have been installed. To date, CPSC is not aware of any injuries. However, some incidents have been close calls, with people exiting the area just minutes before a pole fell.

CPSC has also identified more than 50 Whitco Co. LP poles that have not yet fallen, but inspections revealed fractures and/or cracks next to the weld that joins the pole to its base plate. The fallen and cracked poles were located near or around school football stadiums and gymnasiums.

This recall to inspect and repair involves Whitco Co. LP outdoor steel stadium light poles from about 70 to 135 feet and weigh from about 1 to 4 tons. The poles are constructed of steel with a galvanized coating and were manufactured between 2000-2005.The poles can be found at facilities such as recreational parks and fields, schools and outdoor stadiums. Attached is a listing (pdf) of locations that may have the affected poles.

The recalled light poles were sold by lighting contractors nationwide from 2000 through 2005 and were manufactured in: United States and Mexico.

To reduce the risk of injury, Whitco Co. LP light poles should be inspected by an engineer or a Level II non-destructive testing technician immediately to identify cracking at or near the weld connecting the pole to the base plate flange. A visual examination with the naked eye or with a magnifier will not determine the extent of any cracking. Non-destructive techniques such as magnetic particle inspection, dye penetrant, or ultrasonic inspection techniques are recommended.

If any cracking or fracturing is found, immediately have the affected poles repaired or replaced by a qualified professional. A design analysis to assess the stresses placed on the pole is also recommended. CPSC recommends that all outdoor steel stadium light poles be routinely inspected by a professional. As the manufacturer has become bankrupt, individual owners of the poles must arrange for inspection.

Note: This release does not affect Whitco Pole products.