Dangerous Light Poles Recalled

Over 2,500 <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">Whitco Company LP Poles 70 Feet Tall or Higher have been recalled by Whitco Company LP, of Fort Worth, Texas (which is out of business), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced.

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 a massive one to four 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 impacted 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 which weigh from about one to four 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. A complete list of locations that may be equipped with the affected poles can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10295.pdf

This release does not affect Whitco Pole products. The recalled poles, which were manufactured in the United States and Mexico, were sold by lighting contractors nationwide from 2000 through 2005.

The CPSC advised that 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.

For additional information, please contact CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 anytime or send an email to info@cpsc.gov.

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