A blast furnace explosion which injured 15 workers at U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works plant on Zug Island is only the latest safety incident at the facility.
The explosion on Friday, August 10, put 15 contract workers in local hospitals. Three were still receiving additional treatment as of Saturday night, according to a statement released to WDIV-TV (Channel 4) by U.S. Steel. The statement also indicated that all those injured were employed by Songer Steel Services.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which governs workplace safety, has cited the U.S. Steel facility for numerous safety violations in the past and charged Songer with more than $30,000 in penalties for violations at the plant, according to state records.
In the past five years, three people have been killed at the Great Lakes Works plant. In December 2013, a U.S. Steel employee was killed when molten metal lit the shanty he was in on fire. In April 2014, a contracted crane operator was killed when the crane he was in tipped over. In April 2015, a U.S. Steel employee was run over by a truck and killed at the plant.
The Great Lakes Works plant has been cited with 20 “serious” safety violations in the past five years and instructed to pay more than $33,000 in penalties. Some of these cases are pending.
For its part, Songer Steel has faced eight “serious” violations and paid $32,500 between two closed cases.
U.S. Steel and Songer Steel did not respond to requests for comment.
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