Steel Processor Cited After Worker Killed In Accident

A steel processing facility faces more than $50,000 in penalties after a fatal accident investigation revealed a half-dozen safety and health violations.

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A steel processing facility faces more than $50,000 in penalties after a fatal accident investigation revealed a half-dozen safety and health violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued six serious safety and health violations to Coilplus Illinois, Inc.

According to investigators, a 50-year-old employee was working at the Plainfield steel processing facility on June 23. He was standing on a pneumatic platform removing metal scrap from the scrap pit, when a piece allegedly snagged the pneumatic line, causing it to disconnect and for the platform to return to its vertical position. When the platform moved, the employee feel into the scrap pit where the man was entangled in metal trim until he was pulled through the baler below, resulting in his death.

"A man died tragically and his family, friends and co-workers are left to suffer an overwhelming loss," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Coilplus needs to make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are guarded from machine hazards at its facilities nationwide."

The OSHA investigation found Coilplus failed to: evaluate for permit required confined spaces including posting danger signs; install handrails on stairways; conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures; affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allow employees to enter machine hazard areas; lacked guarding around machines to prevent workers from entering hazard areas; and didn’t have adequate guardrails around the scrap pit area, exposing workers to a nine-foot fall.

Coilplus Illinois is one of nine U.S. facilities operated by Rosemont-based Coilplus, which also has plants in Canada and Mexico. Coilplus is an operating subsidiary of Metal One Holdings America, also based in Rosemont. Metal One Holdings America, Inc. operates as a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corporation and Sojitz Corporation.

OSHA has proposed $53,628 in penalties. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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