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ArcelorMittal fined $10,000 for serious safety violations after workers burned at Indiana Harbor

ArcelorMittal's offices at Indiana Harbor in East Chicago are shown.

The state is fining ArcelorMittal $10,000 for serious safety violations at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, where workers were burned in an accident in early August.

An Indiana Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigation faulted the steelmaker for not preventing workers from being burned by hot limestone dust in the steel mill on Aug. 7.

"The employer did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to contact with hot limestone dust causing burns," the Indiana Department of Labor said in its report. "On or about Aug. 7, 2018, employees were exposed to burns from contact with hot limestone dust while they attempted to clean out a plug which had formed in the feed hood hopper."

Two employees were burned when clogged limestone dust broke loose and poured out of the open feed hood hopper big access door.

"One or more methods of machine guarding was not provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks," state inspectors concluded.

The state agency ordered ArcelorMittal to update its standard operating procedure for the task.

"This SOP should address actions that accurately depict the work task while keeping employees free from burn hazards caused by direct contact with hot limestone dust," the Indiana Department of Labor said in the report. "The established SOP should be audited in accordance to the yearly audit frequency that is established in existing procedures."

ArcelorMittal was given until Dec. 27 to abate the safety hazards and pay the $10,000 fine, but can contest the ruling.

It was a rough week at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago in early August.

Just three days earlier, a blast furnace went down at the steel mill after a large bell dropped into the furnace during the charge. No one was injured during that incident.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.