Federal regulators are recalling more than 2,500 defective stadium light poles, some of which have fallen throughout the country. Schools, municipalities and other owners have been urged to have the stadium light poles inspected and repaired, since the company that manufactured them is now out of business.
The stadium light pole recall was announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for light poles over 70 feet made by Whitco Company LP, of Fort Worth, Texas. The CPSC has received reports that at least 11 of the light poles have fallen, crashing through stadium roofs and slamming into bleachers. No injuries have been reported in connection with the falling poles.
The CPSC first issued a defective light pole warning regarding Whitco Co. poles last August. At that time, the commission had at least nine reports of falling poles. The CPSC launched an investigation of the poles at that time.
Since then, in addition to raising the tally of fallen poles to 11, the CPSC has also identified about 50 more Whitco Co. poles that have fractures or cracks near a weld that joins the pole to its base plate.
The recall affects more than 2,500 poles manufactured by Whitco Co. LP and sold by lighting contractors between 2000 and 2005, mostly in Texas. The outdoor steel stadium light poles are 70 to 135 feet tall, and weigh between 1 and 4 tons. The CPSC has released a list (pdf) of places which likely are using the affected poles.
The CPSC urges owners of the poles to have them inspected by an engineer or Level II non-destructive testing technician, who should look for cracks and fractures at or near the weld connecting the pole to the base plate flange. These inspections should go beyond visual and should probably use non-destructive technologies that can find cracks deep in the structures, such as magnetic particle inspection, dye penetrant or the use of ultrasound.
Any cracked or damaged poles should be repaired or replaced by a qualified professional. Inspections and replacement costs will have to be born by the owners, since the original manufacturer has gone bankrupt, according to the CPSC.