The Indiana Department of Labor has ordered a Fort Wayne-based steel company to pay $22,875 in penalties for alleged violations of Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
A July 3 settlement agreement signing by an Indiana Labor Department official and the general manager of the Steel Dynamics, Inc. Structural and Rail Division resulted from an IOSHA inspection of the division’s Columbia City plant.
The inspection took place sometime between April 22 and March 25, which was three days after 55-year-old SDI employee Kevin Sieber died at the plant.
Whitley County Coroner Randy Dellinger said in March that Sieber died as a result of “crush force injuries” in an accidental death.
Union Township Fire Department was dispatched to SDI at 12:50 p.m. March 22 with a report of an “individual trapped in a machine.” Fire radio traffic also indicated there were “major tissue burns in the extremities and the back” after he was removed from the machine.
A Parkview Samaritan medical helicopter was dispatched to the scene. It was unclear at the time whether Sieber was transported.
First responders attempted to save the victim, but Dellinger said Sieber was later pronounced dead.
“The circumstances are still being investigated on how he got the injury,” Dellinger said.
Of four alleged IOSHA standard violations, an Indiana Department of Labor settlement agreement document showed one was deleted and one saw its penalty reduced to zero dollars because its associated safety order was changed to non-serious.
Proposed penalties of $7,000 for two of the alleged IOSHA standard violations were increased to $10,000.
A settlement description of one of the costlier alleged violations said lab tech employees were exposed to or caught between hazards “when taking rebar samples from a location that was not set forth in the standard operating procedures.
“The lab tech did not de-energize the equipment or utilize energy control procedures when starting up the machine,” it said.
SDI has until Aug. 1 to implement any corrections needed for compliance with IOSHA standards associated with that alleged violation. Failure to correct an alleged violation may result in additional penalties for each day beyond an established deadline that it goes uncorrected, the settlement document said.
The other costlier alleged violation involved lab tech employees “sampling rebar in a location that was not set forth in the standard operating procedures,” it said.
The state agreed with SDI that the company had completed any corrections needed for compliance with IOSHA standards associated with the rebar sampling alleged violation.
SDI was given 15 working days from the date of the settlement’s signing to pay the penalties. It was required to post safety orders related to the alleged violations near locations in the plant where they were believed to have taken place.
The company was told that follow-up inspections could take place to make sure safety orders were posted and alleged violations were corrected.
Information on safety orders issued by IOSHA related to workplace fatalities or involving initial penalties of $10,000 or greater is available at the department’s website at www.in.gov/dol/ioshasafetyorders.htm.