Updated: July 9, 2014 2:02AM
EAST CHICAGO — ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor agreed last month to pay a $7,000 state fine following an investigation into the scalding death of a mill employee Feb. 8.
Robert “Lane” Watts, 62, of Westville, died March 20 at the University of Chicago Medical Center from burns after falling into scalding water in a sinkhole near his work site.
According to the finding by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Watts and another worker were repairing a brine pump in the West Boiler House Water Treatment area. In order to reach the valve, Watts had to walk in the area of the sinkhole and, because of limited visibility, fell into the 8-foot deep hole.
In its finding, IOSHA reported the sinkhole area was not normally accessed by employees, but on the day of the accident, workers encountered limited visibility due to darkness and steam in the area.
IOSHA faulted ArcelorMittal for failing to have standard railings in place or someone monitoring the sinkhole. The steel mill corrected the violation during an inspection.