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'Devastating loss': Algoma Steel contractor died cleaning gas line

Ministry of Labour investigating death of a contractor retained to perform specialized maintenance work
(SooToday photo)

Algoma Steel has confirmed the employee of a contractor who was retained to perform specialized maintenance work died at the steel plant during a June 15 workplace incident. 

In a release issued Friday, the steelmaker said a worker lost consciousness while cleaning an out-of-service gas line Thursday afternoon, prompting Algoma Steel emergency services personnel, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services and paramedics to attend the scene. 

The worker was transported to Sault Area Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The Ministry of Labour has been notified and an investigation is underway.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues affected by this devastating loss. The safety and well-being of everyone in our workplace is a top priority and core value at Algoma Steel,” said Algoma Steel Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Garcia in the release. “We wish to express our gratitude for the prompt response and assistance provided by the emergency services personnel and the dedicated team members who were on-site during this challenging incident. 

“They demonstrated the utmost professionalism and commitment in dealing with the situation and providing urgent medical assistance.”

Counselling services have been made available to Algoma employees and those of the contractor who may have been impacted by the event.

United Steelworkers Local 2251 President Mike Da Prat, whose union represents 2,000 hourly employees at the Sault steelmaker, was briefed about the tragic news Thursday afternoon. 

“It absolutely is devastating,” said Da Prat during a telephone interview with SooToday. “And that is why we have been fighting so hard and so long to get our health and safety program back on track.”

Algoma Steel has announced that it has postponed its annual Family Day event, scheduled for tomorrow, until further notice due to the fatality. 

- SooToday