Chesterton Tribune



IOSHA fines Gary company $3,500 for mill accident in which Valpo man died

Back To Front Page

A Gary construction company has been fined $3,500 by the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration (IOSHA) for a “serious” violation, in connection with a fatal accident in November at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility in East Chicago.

Pangere Corporation was issued the fine on March 11 by IOSHA.

On Nov. 13, Michael Samuelson, 39, of Valparaiso, and two other contract workers were removing steel plates in the No. 2 Rubble Pit at Indiana Harbor West. The three were trying to free a chain fall when an unsecured 7,300-pound plate toppled onto them.

Samuelson was killed. The Lake County Coroner’s Office ruled his death accidental and determined the cause to be blunt force trauma.

IOSHA, after investigating, found that the employer, Pangere, “did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his/her environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.”

IOSHA also found an alternative violation, also deemed “serious”: namely, that Pangere “did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and . . . free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

For either violation, IOSHA fined Pangere $3,500.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Pangere plans to appeal IOSHA’s safety order. “It’s under review and we will be appealing,” the AP quoted Vice-President Bill Rathjen. “We disagree with their findings.”

“Our hearts still go out to the families of all our employees that were involved,” Rathjen also said.

Pangere has 15 days from the receipt of IOSHA’s safety order to appeal the fine. It’s unclear when the company was notified.


Posted 3/27/2014