Metro-East News

Police, OSHA join investigation into death of Granite City steel worker

Flat rolled steel rests on rail cars at U.S. Steel Corp. in Granite City.
Flat rolled steel rests on rail cars at U.S. Steel Corp. in Granite City. News-Democrat

The investigation into the death of a Granite City Works employee who died Sunday after an incident in the steel plant’s rail yard continued Monday.

Investigators with the Granite City Police Department as well as the Illinois office of the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration were trying to decide how the person died. A news release from the Granite City Police Department said the death appeared to be an accident. The identify of the person who died has not been released nor have any details surrounding what led to the person’s death.

Attempts to reach leaders with the United Steelworkers Local 1899 were unsuccessful Monday afternoon.

The death is at least the third since U.S. Steel purchased Granite City Steel from National Steel out of bankruptcy in 2003. The first took place Feb. 3, 2005 when David M. Prengel, 46, was killed after being hit by a slow-moving train in the rail yard. The other was on Oct. 30, 2011 when Dennis C. Courtaway, 56, of Caseyville, was found at the top of a blast furnace. His death was ruled as a suicide.

Activity at the facility recently resumed after the plant was shut down in December 2015. More than 200 employees returned to work last month as U.S. Steel brought back workers to operate its hot strip mill. About 2,000 workers were laid off in the December 2015 plant shutdown.

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND