Ill. worker dies after being pulled into scrap metal baller
A federal investigation prompted by the death of a 50-year-old worker at the Plainfield steel processing facility has resulted in a half-dozen safety and health violations.
Agency investigators determined the worker was standing on a pneumatic platform removing metal scrap from the scrap pit, when a piece of the metal scrap allegedly snagged the pneumatic line, causing it to disconnect and for the platform to return to a vertical position. When it did, the employee fell into the scrap pit where the metal trim entangled the man until the baller below pulled him through, resulting in his death.
OSHA also found Coilplus failed to:
- Evaluate for permit required confined spaces including posting danger signs.
- Install handrails on stairways.
- Conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures.
- Affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allow employees to enter machine hazard areas.
- Lacked guarding around machines to prevent workers for entering hazard areas.
- Did not have adequate guardrails around the scrap pit area, exposing workers to a 9-foot fall.
An "overwhelming loss"
"A man died tragically and his family, friends and co-workers are left to suffer an overwhelming loss," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Coilplus needs to make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are guarded from machine hazards at its facilities nationwide."
Coilplus Illinois is one of nine U.S. facilities operated by Rosemont-based Coilplus, which also has plants in Canada and Mexico. Coilplus is an operating subsidiary of Metal One Holdings America, also based in Rosemont. Metal One Holdings America, Inc. operates as a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corporation and Sojitz Corporation.