GARY, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Labor is fining U.S. Steel $14,000 after an investigation into a steelworker’s death found the company committed two serious safety violations.

State investigators found U.S. Steel failed to provide safety training and protections against live electrical equipment, the (Northwest Indiana) Times (http://bit.ly/2q77Ufm ) reported.

U.S. Steel is contesting the ruling, according to Labor Department spokeswoman Kristin Reed.

Jonathan Arizzola, 30, died after he was electrocuted while trying to fix a crane in September. The crane was in the slab yard at Gary Works steel mill.

United Steelworkers officials tied Arizzola’s death — and the June electrocution death of 67-year-old Charles Kremke at the same location — to cutbacks in maintenance staffing. The union said the staffing cuts, which have since been reversed, posed safety hazards.

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation determined that maintenance employees were performing repairs to a crane in the slab yard while three collector rails were live. OSHA said that exposed the workers to electrical hazards.

OSHA’s safety order said employees should use protective shields, protective barriers or insulating materials to protect themselves from shocks, burns or other electrically related injuries.

“Qualified persons shall at a minimum be trained in and familiar with the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electrical equipment,” the safety order read.

Union officials had raised concerns that maintenance workers were pushed to hurry through repairs.


Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com