Four Explosions Rock Rouge Steel Plant, Two Workers Injured

Jan. 9, 2001
Four explosions and a fire at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn,\r\nMich., on Friday injured at least two workers, according to\r\nauthorities.

Four explosions and a fire at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn, Mich., on Friday injured at least two workers, according to authorities.

The 1,100-acre Rouge complex comprises six Ford Motor Co. plants and Rouge Steel. The fire happened in the Rouge Steel area.

Police said the workers were able to walk away after the explosions in a blast furnace.

Officials at Rouge Steel said molten steel of about 2,000 degrees spewed out of the furnace. The blast shut down the furnace and one-third of the plant''s iron-making capacity, but damage was limited to pipes and wiring.

Friday''s incident was the latest in a series of accidents at the Rouge complex.

On Jan. 7, 2000, molten steel exploded in a vat at the foundry, sparking a series of small fires and causing two minor injuries.

On Aug. 19, 1999, one worker died and four others were treated after being overcome by fumes while performing routine maintenance work at Rouge Steel.

And on Feb. 1, 1999, at a Ford power plant within the complex, a boiler undergoing routine maintenance exploded, killing six employees and injuring 14 others.

Michigan OSH officials later found 15 workplace safety violations for which Ford was fined $1.5 million.

Ford also has settled all the claims relating to the 1999 power plant explosion for a total of about $30 million.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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