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Fatally scalded mill worker ‘will be greatly missed’

Updated: April 27, 2014 6:34AM



EAST CHICAGO — An employee of a Northwest Indiana steel mill died Friday, more than a month after he fell into scalding water in a work-related accident.

Robert “Lane” Watts was severely injured in the Feb. 8 accident at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, a spokesman for the company said.

Watts, of the 800 block of Macadamia Nut Lane in Westville, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he died at 7:28 a.m. Friday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy Saturday found the 62-year-old died of complications of thermal injuries from falling into scalding water, and ruled his death an accident, according to the medical examiner’s office.

“Lane was an experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable employee who will be greatly missed by his co-workers,” a company spokesman said. “The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor family expresses our deepest sympathy to Lane’s family and friends.”

Management and union officials have launched a joint investigation into the accident, according to ArcelorMittal. The company is also cooperating with an investigation by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In November 2009, AcelorMittal’s East Chicago plant was cited for four serious violations by OSHA after a worker was struck and killed by a crane, according to OSHA records. The company was again cited for a serious violation during a March 2010 inspection, according to the records.



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