Steelworker scalded on Feb. 8 at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility has
succumbed to his injuries.
Watts, 62, of Westville, died at 7:28 a.m. Friday, March 21, at the
University of Chicago Medical Center.
The Cook County
Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Watts’ death as accidental and listed the
cause as complications from thermal injuries.
Post-Tribune originally reported--on Tuesday--that the accident occurred
at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility, Paul Gipson, president of USW
Local 6787, told the Chesterton Tribune today that Watts in fact was
injured at Indiana Harbor in East Chicago.
silently corrected that mistake in a follow-up story in today’s edition.
conducted by union and management has determined preliminarily that, at 5:45
p.m. Feb. 8, Watts and a coworker were putting a brine pump into service at
the West Boiler House Water Treatment Facility, when Watts fell into a sink
hole first noticed in December and caused by a leaking line from the
adjacent lift pit, which receives blow-down water from the boilers and water
That sink hole was
located between the lift pit and the brine tank.
advised investigators that as he and Watts exited the building their vision
was limited because it was dark and “a large amount of steam was evolving
off the pit.”
There were barriers
in place prior to the accident, according to investigation documents.
released the following statement today to the Chesterton Tribune:
“Lane was an
experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable employee who will be greatly
missed by his coworkers. The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor facility expresses
our deepest sympathy to Lane’s family and friends.
investigation of the accident was launched immediately by management and
union officials. Indiana OSHA is also investigating and we are cooperating
fully with that agency.
“The health and
safety or our employees is our No. 1 priority.”