Worker Seriously Injured in Industrial Accident in Steel Mill

Gary, IN- A worker was seriously injured in an industrial accident at Gary Works Wednesday.

The steelworker suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in downtown Gary. Information on his condition was not immediately available but he is expected to survive.

“We had a worker that got seriously hurt with several injuries but none life-threatening,” United Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap said. “All I know is he is a maintenance technician and was working on (a blast furnace) and he got hit by something.”

U.S. Steel’s OSHA Recordable Incident Rate has been 0.14 per 200,000 hours so far this year, down from 0.17 in 2017.

steel mill industrial accident Though the United Steelworkers union and steelmakers have worked for years to prioritize workplace safety at the industrial mills, the hulking factories where metal is forged post many inherent hazards that include hot temperatures, catwalks over great heights, and moving equipment that weighs tons. Steelworker ranks as the sixth most deadly job nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Worker’s Leg Crushed in Band Saw – Safety Guards Had Been Removed

Rugby, UK – Acenta Steel Limited has been fined £400,000 for a 2016 industrial accident in which a worker’s leg was crushed in the vice of an industrial band saw. An investigation by the local health and safety team discovered that safety guards fitted to the band saw when it was installed at the factory had been removed.

The Rugby Borough Council prosecuted and found that Acenta Steel had faileband sawd to carry out an adequate risk assessment of operating the machine without safety guards. In a written submission to the investigating officer, Acenta stated the safety guards had been removed from the band saw in order to avoid steel being caught on an overhead gantry and that the machine’s sensor rarely needed cleaning.

However, in the course of the investigation, the prosecution observed that the band saw suffered a sensor fault around four times a year. Acenta had having previously stated it was unaware of the problem which suggested to the prosecution that there was a failure to monitor the machine’s performance.

During the hearing, details of the industrial accident were brought to light. Returning to the factory floor after a break, the worker found the band saw’s warning light flashing red, indicating it had stopped working due to a fault. After consulting with a colleague, the worker believed the machine’s sensor had become blocked by steel filings and he climbed on to the band saw to clear it.

Unfortunately, while clearing the sensor, the worker noticed the machine’s vice had started moving and his leg had become trapped. The worker called out to colleagues for help, but by the time the emergency stop button had been pressed to cut power to the machine he had suffered several fractures to his leg.

Acenta Steel Limited pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

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Lockout & Machine Safety Hazards Cost Steel Plant $280K

Canton, OH – OSHA has proposed fines of $279,578 for lockout and machine safety hazards found at the Republic Steel plant following an investigation prlockoutompted by an employee injury. Federal investigators determined that Republic failed to install locking devices on machine operating parts, and documented two repeated and five serious safety and health violations.

Last December, a 64-year-old worker suffered a broken pelvis after being struck by an unguarded and energized piece of equipment during maintenance. OSHA officials said the worker was injured after being struck by a sail (a large clamp that holds a steel billet) because machines didn’t have lockout devices that stop operation when maintenance is being performed.

Just eight days later, OSHA began a second investigation after workers complained about lead exposure. Investigators documented seven incidents of lead overexposure in the facility.

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Behr Pleads Guilty in Case of Employee’s Death

Rockford, IL – Willful violation of lockout/tagout and confined space protections at Behr Iron & Steel resulted in an employee’s death at the recycling company’s South Beloit facility in 2014. This week, Behr representatives were in federal court where they plead guilty to willful violation of US safety standards.

The sentencing date is set for July of this year. Behr Iron & Steel faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation and a maximum fine of $500,000. Additionally, it must pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined by the court.

The US Department of Justice charged that the metal scrap processing plant failed to provide lockout and tagout protection and confined space protection as required by OSHA regulations for employees tasked with cleaning a metal shredder discharge pit.

Behr admitted these violations caused the death of employee Alfredo Arrendondo, 39. Arrendondo died after his arm was caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt at the facility on March 10, 2014.

The US Attorney’s Office found that shredded metals at the Behr facility fell onto a conveyor belt located underground in a discharge pit approximately 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. Some metals fell off the belt into the pit, and one or two employees were sent down to clean it out daily by shoveling the metals from the floor onto a moving conveyor belt. It was in this area that Arrendondo’s arm was caught and he was killed by the unguarded live machinery.

In the plea agreement, Behr admitted that there was no lock or operable emergency shut off switch in the discharge pit, and the conveyor belt did not have guards to protect employees. Further, the company admitted that employees in the pit were not adequately trained to use the shredder or the conveyor belt, and there were not confined space protections for employees entering the pit.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Behr Iron & Steel must adopt procedures that ensure dangerous machines are properly shut off during maintenance and servicing work, including placing a lock on the power source and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated. Additionally, OSHA regulations require safety precautions for workers in confined spaces.

Based in Rockford (IL), Behr Iron & Steel is a subsidiary of Joseph Behr and Sons Inc., a recycling company founded in 1906. the company employs about 450 people at 14 facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

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Arc Flash Incident at Republic Steel Results in OSHA Fines

Blasdell, NY – Republic Steel faces $147,000 in fines after one of its workers suffered serious burns on the job. An employee of Republic Steel in Blasdell, NY was removing wiring from a fan motor in an overhead crane last October when an ungrounded electrical conductor touched a grounded surface causing an arc flash. The electric technician received third-degree burns on her hand and first-degree burns on her face as a result.

An investigation by the Buffalo area office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that Republic Steel failed to provide and ensure the use of effective face and hand protection by its employees. “These injuries were avoidable”, said Michael Scime, OSHA’s area director. “Republic Steel has a responsibility to make sure that its electric technicians are properly trained, equipped with and using person protective equipment to protect from arc flash. In this case, that would include a face shield and rubber insulating gloves. The company should be especially aware of this, since OSHA cited Republic Steel earlier in 2014 for similar hazards at its Lorain, Ohio facility.”

OSHA cited Republic Steel for two repeat violations, each with proposed fines of $70,000 for the lack of hand and face protection. The company was also cited for one serious violation with a $7,000 fine for failing to protect employees against contact with energized electrical equipment.

Republic Steel disagrees with OSHA’s findings and has contested the citations in their entirety.

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