OSHA to Probe Death at Kentucky Steel Mill

The federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration will investigate the death of a worker at a steel mill construction site in Mississippi’s Lowndes County.

County Coroner Greg Merchant said Tony Vic Chebalier, 46, of Palestine, Texas, was “run over by” a 30,000-pound forklift last week at at the SeverCorr site.

Chebalier died of blunt force trauma, Merchant said. An autopsy has been ordered.

Chebalier was a foreman for Schueck Steel Co., and had been with the Little Rock, Ark.-based company since 1999.

Officials at Schueck Steel said they are investigating and would make no further comment.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” said Mike Wagner, SeverCorr’s chief commercial officer. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the worker’s family.”

No other workers were injured. SeverCorr officials said they and their contractors will cooperate fully with an investigation.

Merchant said the forklift was about to lift a 20-foot-long beam on the east side of the 1,400-acre site when the mishap occurred. He said Chebalier was dead at the scene.

Construction on the plant will continue except in the area where the accident occurred, said Merchant. More than 800 workers are building the facility, with peak employment expected to reach about 1,500 in October or November.

“OSHA will investigate to determine what happened and if there were any OSHA violations,” Eugene Stewart, assistant area director at the agency’s Jackson office, said.