Worker killed, found under 4,000 pound pallet at Knoxville steel mill

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A worker was killed in an industrial accident Tuesday evening at a Knoxville steel mill.

Knoxville Fire Department crews were called to Gerdau Ameristeel Facility, 1919 Tennessee Avenue, for a collapse just after 7:30 p.m. Initially crews thought it was a building collapse, but later learned around two tons of sand-like material used in the recycling phase of producing hardened rebar had collapsed, trapping a worker.

Investigators say the worker was Anthony McDowell, 55, of Knoxville. McDowell was working in the storage area of the facility at the time of the accident. The report says a pallet of granular product overturned on the victim. The pallet weighed 4,000 pounds and contained large bags.

Rescuers removed the material from the victim. He was found dead at the scene.

Gerdau is saddened to confirm that an employee at its Knoxville, Tennessee, steel mill was involved in an accident at the facility and has passed away due to his injuries. The company is working closely with the appropriate authorities to determine the cause of the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time, and due to company policy and out of respect to his loved ones, that is all the information we can provide at this time.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident, which is expected to take up to 12 weeks to complete. Gerdau says it is also conducting an internal investigation.

The plant was the site of a 2014 explosion that killed one worker and injured five others. The plant was fined $8,400 and had to install monitoring equipment. Gerdau officials say Tuesday’s accident was in no way related to this one.

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