Five hospitalized with minor injuries
A total of 12 workers were hurt with five being sent to hospital after a blast involving molten metal at Algoma Steel in Ontario last week.
The incident happened at 10 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the north casthouse of the company’s blast furnace complex.
The employer believes “slag made contact with moisture in the hot iron trough,” it said in a press release.
“It was reported that 12 workers received burns from liquid metal,” the provincial Ministry of Labour said in a statement, according to a report from CTV News.
“A ministry inspector has been assigned. As the ministry’s investigation is ongoing, we are not able to share further information at this time.”
Algoma Steel is also conducting its own investigation.
Company officials pointed out the risks of working with molten metal in separate statements.
“The hazards associated with working with molten metal are well known to us and we have comprehensive training and procedures to ensure the safety of our operations. Our investigation is ongoing to fully understand what happened,” said Michael Garcia, the company’s CEO, in a company press release.
“Our first and primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and we are thankful for the rapid and professional response of our first responders.”
"There are risks associated with working with hot metal, and this is a risk,” said Laura Devoni, Algoma spokesperson, in the CTV News report. “We are reviewing the incident, and the safety precautions around the incident to ensure that these types of incidents are prevented in the future.”
The hospitalized workers have since been released.
The incident happened after, on Jan. 20, a structure supporting utilities piping collapsed. Algoma experienced issues at the blast furnace “as an unexpected consequence” of that incident, according to the company.
No one was injured and the company initially shut down blast furnace operations.
The company continues to advance on-site repair work as well as a comprehensive investigation into the Jan. 20 incident, according to the employer.