A Steelworker was Killed at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works Plant

Oct 5, 2016

A steelworker was killed at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works plant last week on September 30th. It’s the second death there this year, it comes amid rising tensions over safety.

Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows 28 primary metal manufacturing workers were killed on the job across the country in 2014. Two of those were in Indiana, about average for the past few years.

In the past few months, there have been two deaths at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works plant. Sixty-seven-year-old electrician Charles Kremke was fatally electrocuted in June, and 30-year-old Jonathon Arrizola was killed while doing maintenance on a crane late last month.

Some employees are blaming recent layoffs for those deaths. A post in a public United Steelworkers Facebook group, signed by local union president Rodney Lewis, says the layoffs of 75 Gary Works maintenance staff and demotions of 200 more in August jeopardized safety — forcing fewer workers to cover more tasks.

The layoffs sparked protests and a union complaint. A U.S. Steel spokesperson declined to comment on that or the worker deaths, which she says the company is investigating along with the union and federal agencies.