Chesterton Tribune

Steelworker fatally crushed at BH mill

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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.



Posted 8/6/2006