A Valparaiso man who was working as a contractor at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West steel mill in East Chicago was killed in an accident Wednesday morning. Two other contractors were injured.
Michael Samuelson, 39, died of the result of blunt force trauma to the body, according to the Lake County coroner's office. The coroner ruled the death accidental.
Falling debris killed and injured the contractors, East Chicago police Lt. Marguerite Wilder said. The industrial accident happened near the basic oxygen furnace shortly before 6:51 a.m., when mill security called police to the scene.
The two injured workers were taken to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. The conditions of the injured contractors were not immediately available.
"They were doing some type of work at the facility when debris fell," Wilder said.
Police plan to do a follow-up investigation, Wilder said.
The fatal accident happened at the No. 3 steel production facility in Indiana Harbor West, which was formerly the LTV Steel Co. mill.
"ArcelorMittal is extremely saddened to confirm a fatal incident involving a contractor at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor No. 3 steel production facility on Wednesday morning," spokesman William Steers said. "Two additional employees with the same contractor were injured as a result of the incident, but the injuries are not thought to be life-threatening at this time."
ArcelorMittal has launched a joint investigation into the incident that involves management and the United Steelworkers union.
"The ArcelorMittal family extends our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased and those injured," Steers said.
United Steelworkers Local 1011 Union President Lonnie Asher said no employees of the mill were injured in the accident, and that an investigation was just beginning into what happened.
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators are looking into what happened at the time of the incident, and whether ArcelorMittal and the contractor violated any safety rules, spokeswoman Chetrice Mosley said. If any violations are found, the state agency would chart out a course of corrective action and also could issue a fine.
Such investigations are required after all fatal workplace accidents and can take as long as six months, Mosley said.