JOHANNESBURG – The bodies of three workers were found overnight at ArcelorMittal South Africa’s Vanderbijlpark Works, after the collapse of a coke battery stack at the steel plant the previous morning, the company said on Thursday.
Africa’s biggest steel producer, majority owned by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA, said a portion of the stack fell on to a control room where the three were working.
“The company has launched an investigation into the cause of the incident. All relevant authorities have been notified and have been on site,” ArcelorMittal South Africa said in a statement.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said in a statement it would ask the labor department to investigate the incident and whether ArcelorMittal acted fast enough to find the workers.
“We are convinced that had it not been for the intense efforts of workers themselves, who risked their own lives and took the initiative searching through the massive pile of rubble to locate workers who were trapped under the building, we would not have been able to recover these bodies,” the union said.
ArcelorMittal South Africa said it would cooperate fully with all investigations.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
Photograph: ArcelorMittal’s massive steel mill in Vanderbijlpark , South Africa, is seen Monday Sept. 21, 2009. Photo credit: AP Photo/Andreas Jensen.
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