UPDATE: St. George Steel investigates accident that critically injured employee

man injured at st. george steel
A Jib crane at St. George Steel. | Photo courtesy of St. George Steel

updated Sept. 30, 2011, 7:27 a.m.

ST. GEORGE – Joshua St. John, an employee of St. George Steel, was injured in a crane accident on Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. and remains hospitalized.

Norbert Kretschmer, Human Resources Safety Director for Express Metals Fabricators, St. George Division, (which carries on the St. George Steel name since its acquisition in 2005), said the cause of the accident is under investigation. St. George Steel is located at 1300 East 700 North in St. George.

“Basically, the gentleman was working on a crane and we don’t know exactly what happened,” Kretschmer said. “That’s why we’re still investigating.  In the long run, the crane hit him and he fell, at which time 911 was called and he was taken to the local hospital.”

St. George Police Department dispatch said that they dispatched Dixie Ambulance to the scene when they received the call.  “It was an injury that didn’t require a police response,” the dispatcher said.

Kretschmer said the incident has been reported to the State of Utah’s workers compensation fund, and an investigation is ongoing.

William Adams of the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division said that OSHA has received no report of the incident.

Kretschmer explained that it is not an incident that would be immediately OSHA reportable because it does not meet the criteria for such reports.  He said incidents reportable within 24 to 48 hours include fatal accidents or those resulting in multiple hospitalizations from a single accident (the example he gave is that of a scaffolding falling with several persons injured).  He said that OSHA would receive report in the course of regular reporting.

“We are vigorously at it,” said Kretschmer, “interviewing witnesses, taking statements, inspecting equipment … investigating.”

While Kretschmer confirmed that St. John is still in the hospital, he declined to give any specific details while the investigation is ongoing.

Kretschmer said that he does not know the specifics of a donation fund set up for St. John’s family, but that he has heard that the elementary school where the employee’s child goes in Ivins is setting up a raffle in support of the family’s needs.

According to a Facebook update from a member of St. John’s church, his condition is improving, but still critical. The post stated:

“Josh St. John was injured due to an equipment malfunction at work yesterday morning that caused him to fall 20-30 feet. He sustained a number of injuries, the most serious of which were internal. He is currently in the hospital with his family, but cannot have other visitors yet. Doctors are actively working to stabilize his internal injuries, and he is showing improvement today on a number of levels. Miraculously, the CT scans did not indicate any head or spinal injuries. The family is very grateful for all the well-wishes and prayers, as well as the privacy they have been afforded during this time.

“I also know that, as of yesterday afternoon, he’s slightly improved but he’s still in critical but stable condition.

“I hope this information is useful. I’ll keep you updated on his progress.”

jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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7 Comments

  • Howard Whitney (prior employee) October 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    This is a bigger story than it looks like. just a month prior an individual lost his thumb at St. George steel. Equipment used by the company routinely has safety switches wired around so they won’t function. the safety record in the last two years leaves one wondering how Norb, Todd and Mike continue to hold their jobs it speaks of a corporation that disregards the safety of it’s employees. I would think someone should finally take notice and start reporting on the gross neglect of this plant.

  • Concerned and Shocked October 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Not sure why they aren’t under investigation by OSHA for overall safety. This particular incident may not be in their criteria, but there are SO MANY dangerous accidents that happen there. I hope he gets better and I hope St George Steel finally starts being safe. That same equipment was used the very next day Josh fell off of it so I have my suspicions it was not thoroughly investigated. They welded it a bit, but that’s the gist of “fixing” equipment there. There is a lot of equipment that is rarely inspected and hazardous, peoples’ legs have almost gotten crushed because the python isn’t shut off when maintenance workers work, someone has their thumb ripped off a month ago. It is not a safe work environment and I wish OSHA would look into it and make the management team get their act together.

  • Denise October 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    St George Steel has been great, they are very concerned for Josh as well as the other employees. They have never had an accident this bad. I know for a fact they are investigating this, they have even called in experts to find out why this happened. This crane could not have been welded a bit and put back to use. Have you witnessed it’s use? I know they hold regular saftey meetings as well as reward their employees for being safe. Someone cutting of their thumb does not make for an unsafe company. Accidents happen, we may never know why this happened to Josh, but I do know they are trying their hardest to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

  • Diane October 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Operation error in all these accidents!!!

  • Scott Tolbert October 30, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I have been employed at Saint George Steel for 11 years……..In that time I’ve never had a reportable accident…..Accidents do happen but being aware of whats around you and what your doing is a FIRST!!!!If you dont feel comfortable doing something ask for help….Accidents in this line of work are gonna happen…..All 3 accidents were avoidable!!!!

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