Workplace injuries are more common than one might think. CBS Chicago recently reported that a contractor died in an accident at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago. Michael Samuelson was working as a contractor at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West steel mill in East Chicago when he was killed in an accident in November. Two other contractors also working at the mill were injured in the same incident.
The Lake County Coroner's office reported that Samuelson's death was caused by blunt force trauma to the body. His death was ruled accidental.
The accident was caused by falling debris near the basic oxygen furnace at the No. 3 steel production facility in Indiana Harbor West. It occurred just before 7:00 a.m. on November 13th, after which security called police to the scene. The two injured workers were taken to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago.
A spokesman for ArcelorMittal issued a statement confirming the fatality and expressing condolences to the families of all workers involved in the accident. He also mentioned that although the specific conditions of the injured contractors were not available, the injuries they sustained were not thought to be life-threatening.
Police plan to do a follow-up investigation, and ArcelorMittal has launched a joint investigation into the incident that involves management and the United Steelworkers union. Lonnie Asher, United Steelworkers Local 1011 Union President, reported that no employees of the mill were injured in the accident, and that an investigation into the cause of the accident was set to begin.
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators are also examining what happened at the time of the accident; specifically, whether ArcelorMittal and the contractor violated any safety rules. If any safety rules were violated, the state agency will likely plan a course of corrective action and may issue a fine. These investigations are required after all workplace accidents resulting in death, and can take as long as six months.
An accident resulting in death and injury to several workers as recounted in the story above is certainly a tragedy. In the course of the several investigations of this incident that are planned by different agencies, if this accident is found to have been caused by a safety violation or negligence on the part of ArcelorMittal or the contracting company, the players involved could face serious legal ramifications as a result. Not only could they be sued for wrongful death, but workers' compensation claims and other damages may be sought by the family members of the deceased and the injured workers themselves.If you or someone you know was injured or killed in a workplace accident, an experienced Illinois accident attorney can guide you through the legal process of asserting your rights and making a claim for damages you are owed. Contact us today to discuss your case and let us inform you of your options in being compensated for your injury.
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