Stadium Light Pole Fall Warning: CPSC Says Defective Poles Pose Injury Risk

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning Monday to the public, school officials, facility managers and municipal and public safety officials that stadium light poles made by Whitco Co. LP have been found to crack and fall over, potentially causing serious injury or death.

The defective light pole warning involves lights used at numerous parks, school stadiums and athletic fields across the country. The CPSC has confirmed at least nine incidents of a light pole falling between 2000 and 2006, with reported incidents including light poles falling through gymnasium roofs and even onto outdoor bleachers.

So far there have been no reported injuries. The commission has begun an investigation into the Whitco light pole design and similar stadium light poles.

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The light poles are made of steel with a galvanized coating, and range from 70 to 135 feet tall, weighing between one and four tons. The manufacturer, Forth Worth-based Whitco Co. LP., is no longer in business.

The CPSC reports that most of the falls have occurred at facilities in Texas, though the poles are installed in other states. Besides the nine cases where a stadium light pole actually fell, the CPSC has found 50 that have not fallen, but have developed cracks and fractures next to the weld joining the pole to the base plate.

The CPSC recommends that any facilities using a Whitco stadium light pole should immediately obtain an inspection from a qualified professional. All welds joining the pole to the base plate should be inspected for signs of cracks and fractures and should not be limited to visual examination with the naked eye or magnifying glass, as these methods will not determine the extent of any potential cracking or fracturing. If any signs of structural failure are found, the poles should be repaired or replaced immediately.

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  • VickiOctober 11, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    We had a school project where a 30' exterior light pole falied above the weld joint. In subsequent testing, it was found that a significant number of the poles had cracking. The lighting pole manufacture contends that this is due to vibration, which is not covered by their warranty. Do you have any experience in this phenomenen?

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