A steelworker at the Burns Harbor operation of Mittal Steel USA died Friday
after being crushed in an accident at Coke Battery No. 1.
Kevin Sullivan, 50, of LaPorte, was pronounced at 2:30 p.m. at Porter
Valparaiso Hospital Campus, Mittal spokesman Dave Allen told the Chesterton
Tribune on Friday.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. Sullivan was caught between the machine which
opens and closes the coke oven doors and an adjacent structure, Allen said.
He was transported to Porter hospital by a Mittal emergency crew but died
several hours later.
It’s unclear at this point exactly what happened, Allen said. What is known
is that a “push” had just been completed—during which a ram pushes the baked
coke down the oven and into hopper cars—and that the oven door was being put
back into place by means of a tracked machine, he said. Sullivan was trapped
between the machine and a portion of the battery.
Sullivan was a 14-year veteran of the mill, having worked for Bethlehem
Steel Corporation and International Steel Group before Mittal.
A joint union-management investigation into the incident has already begun,
Allen said. “Who should have been where doing what? Was the equipment in
order? They’ll cover all the bases. It may take a while to reach their
conclusions. They’re very methodical.”
The last fatal accident at the Burns Harbor operation occurred in November
2002, when a 27-year veteran of Bethlehem Steel was crushed beneath a
remote-controlled sub car in the hot-metal area of the basic oxygen furnace.