Worker dies at Gary Works steel mill | Business Heads in Northwestern Indiana

GARY — A worker died Friday night while working at the Gary Works steel mill.

Mike Millsap, director of United Steelworkers Union District 7, said the death did not appear to have been the result of an industrial accident.

A 39-year-old electrician collapsed and died while working on a crane at the 84-inch hot rolling mill, Millsap said. Death appeared to be a natural death to witnesses at the scene.

“It wasn’t because of an injury,” Millsap said. “It was an apparent heart attack.”

The worker was a contractor who was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.

Attempts to resuscitate the man at the scene were unsuccessful, Millsap said. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

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“It’s just tragic what happened,” Millsap said. “Our condolences go out to his family.”

US Steel did not immediately return requests for comment.

The United Steelworkers union and the company will investigate what happened to ensure it was not an accident at work or that additional safety measures can be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

“We’ll definitely look into it, but it doesn’t appear to be work-related,” Millsap said.

Although safer than in previous generations, steel mills remain dangerous places to work with many natural hazards, such as heavy machinery, rumbling trucks, trains on the barrel, molten metal, high temperatures, high walkways and steel coils that can weigh many tons. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration of the United States Department of Labor reports that in 2020, steel mills had 7.3 recordable illnesses or injuries per 100 qualifying hours, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

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