IOSHA Fines ArcelorMittal After Fatal Worker Accident In East Chicago

Posted on Jan 28, 2011
A steelmaking company in East Chicago has been fined $55,000 after one of their workers died in an on-the-job accident last year. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) found during its investigation that the company, ArcelorMittal, was in serious violation of safety regulations, and in some cases had repeat violations.

In October 2010, 33-year-old Jason Ham of Union Township was working at the steelmaking plant in Indiana Harbor replacing a hydraulic cylinder. During the procedure, a safety device collapsed, killing Ham and seriously injuring another worker. An autopsy found that Ham died from blunt force trauma when the cylinder fell onto him.

After an investigation into the deadly worker accident by the Indiana OSHA, the government agency found that ArcelorMittal should have had a more reliable safety device in position during the hydraulic cylinder replacement. Also, the area in which the accident happened was incorrectly not identified as a confined space – and identification that would have required more safety measures. In addition, the steelmaking company had not fixed an earlier violation involving their energy control protocol.

An official statement released by ArcelorMittal reiterated that the company was working closely with the IOSHA and that the top priority of the company is the safety of its workers. It is not yet clear whether the Indiana steel company will pay the fines or contest them.

AcrelorMittal is the sixth company to be fined by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2010. However, the IOSHA has collected only about $18,000 worth of fines in total from last year’s violations.
James R. Keller
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