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Worker seriously injured in industrial accident at Gary Works steel mill

The Gary Works steel mill in Gary is shown. 

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

The steelworker, a member of the United Steelworkers union, 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."

Workers at Gary Works had been working this week to restore blast furnaces at the lakefront mill at 1 N. Broadway in downtown Gary, after they were shut down the day before Thanksgiving because of significant flooding caused by a leak in a 36-inch service water line that brings lake water from Lake Michigan into the mill to cool furnaces.

The details of what happened in the accident were not immediately available.

U.S. Steel and the Indiana Department of Labor did not immediately respond to messages requesting details. 

During a recent conference call with investors, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, one of the Region's largest and best-known industrial employers for more than a century, reported it had an Occupational Health and Safety Administration Recordable Incident Rate — measuring injuries so serious workers have to take off days at work to recuperate — of 0.11 per 200,000 hours worked in the third quarter.

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.

Though the United Steelworkers union and steelmakers have worked for years to prioritize workplace safety at the 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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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.