United Steelworkers Union District 7 Director Mike Millsap said the death does not appear to have been the result of a workplace 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 on the spot as a consequence 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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US Steel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The United Steelworkers union and the company will investigate the incident to be sure it was not an accident at work or that any additional safety precautions could be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.
“We will definitely investigate, but it doesn’t appear to be work related,” Millsap said.
Although safer than previous generations, steel mills remain dangerous places to work with many natural hazards such as heavy machinery, noisy trucks, rattling trains, molten metal, high temperatures, high walkways, and steel coils that can weigh many tons. The U.S. 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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