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DIGGING DEEPER: IOSHA closes case on Columbia City worker death

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – A division of Steel Dynamics will pay nearly $22,000 in fines stemming from the death of a worker at a plant in Columbia City in March.

ABC21 has reviewed documents filed last week that resolve the case surrounding Kevin Sieber, a 55-year-old worker who was crushed when he fell into machinery.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation initially identified four serious violations related to the incident.

It later eliminated one of them and reduced a second to a “non-serious” violation, knocking down the fine for that count. Two other serious violations were upheld, with the penalty for each actually increasing.

In total, Steel Dynamics will pay $21,875 of the initial (proposed) penalty of $22,875.

Inspectors found that the plant had exposed workers to hazards by failing to “de-energize” equipment and for allowing the “operation of machinery (that was) not guarded” correctly.”

Documents note that the company has addressed the concerns at the rail mill.

Immediately after the accident, ABC21 reviewed past safety violations at the plant, which began operations in 2002, according to Steel Dynamics and which is SDI’s second-largest steel operation. Our review identified four workers who died at the plant in past incidents.

Whitley County’s coroner told ABC21 he was disappointed with the process that followed the most recent accident.

“When I called (IOSHA), I talked to an answering machine,” Randy Dellinger said. “Not even a human the first day. I thought the minimum they could do was show up.”

Steel Dynamics released a statement following the incident expressing condolences to the family of the victim and calling the accident “devastating.”


Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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