GARY — A worker died while on the job at the Gary Works steel mill Friday night.
United Steelworkers Union District 7 Director Mike Millsap 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 strip mill, Millsap said. The death appeared to witnesses at the scene to have been the result of natural causes.
“It wasn’t because of an injury,” Millsap said. “It was an apparent heart attack.”
The worker was a contractor who belonged to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.
Attempts to revive 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 be sure it was not a workplace accident or that any additional safety precautions could be taken to prevent such incidences in the future.
“We’ll definitely investigate, but it does not appear to be work-related,” Millsap said.
Although safer than in previous generations, steel mills remain dangerous places to work with many natural hazards like heavy machinery, rumbling trucks, barreling trains, molten metal, raging temperatures, high catwalks and steel coils that can weigh many tons. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that steel mills had 7.3 recordable illnesses or injuries per 100 qualifying hours in 2020, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
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