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Jupiter Aluminum in Hammond, Industrial Steel Construction in Gary fined for serious safety violations

Jupiter Aluminum in Hammond. The company was fined $10,000 by the state of Indiana for serious safety violations.

Two industrial companies in Northwest Indiana face more than $27,500 in fines after state investigators found unsafe working conditions.

Jupiter Aluminum, an aluminum recycling facility on 165th Street in Hammond, was fined $10,000 by the state for serious safety violations.

The company, which recycles more than 150,000 tons of aluminum scrap per year at its 24/7 operation at 1745 165th St., was cited by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an inspection. Investigators found truck operators did not get training about workplace hazards.

Last year, Jupiter Aluminum workers were exposed to potential injuries when operating payloaders by aluminum dross, which is considered a hazardous material, and in a smoky work area when flux for melting aluminum was not available, IOSHA found in its report. A worker there also moved aluminum dross on a payloader without a functioning horn, violating a workplace regulation that requires that industrial trucks be taken out of service until needed repairs are made.

IOSHA also is fining Industrial Steel Construction, 86 N. Bridge St., Gary, $17,500 for serious safety violations, including repeat offenses.

The state agency said workers at the former American Bridge fabricating facility, where about 330 workers build steel bridges, were exposed to too-high an airborne concentration of particulates, which the company also was cited for in 2016. The company was ordered to put in place new administrative and engineering controls after workers were exposed to 84.8 times as many airborne particulates as allowed, according to the IOSHA investigators' report.

Both companies get the chance to contest the Indiana Department of Labor's fines and safety orders.

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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.