Steel company investigates after contractor’s death

Local News
Eric Connor with his wife and three children. Photo courtesy of Steve Christensen.

WILTON, Iowa — A major steel company is investigating after the death of a contractor in Wilton, Iowa.

Eric Connor, 29, was taken to the Trinity Rock Island Saturday while working at the Gerdau Wilton Ameristeel mill.

He died the next day.

We obtained a photo of him with his wife and three kids from Connor’s father. He says Connor was an “amazing young man, the son every father dreams of having.”

There’s a lot that investigators aren’t releasing right now. We don’t know if an accident happened or if this was a medical emergency. Rock Island County coroner Brian Gustafson says an autopsy was done today, but it’s too soon for a preliminary a cause of death.

Local 4 News reached out to Gerdau Wilton. Spokesperson Adam Parr sent us this statement:

“Gerdau confirms the passing of a contractor employee at the Wilton, IA steel mill. The individual was hospitalized on Saturday, June 15th, and passed away shortly thereafter. We are currently in the process of investigating, and will supply additional details when we are able.
We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased.”

Adam Parr, Gerdau spokesperson

Local 4 News is still waiting for a response from a union representative about the investigation.

Past incidents

Local 4 News investigated and found the mill has a history of workplace accidents.

An explosion two years ago injured two employees. Federal documents show both of them were burned.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted two inspections this year and both were based on referrals from other organizations.

Inspectors were at the plant six days before Connor’s death.

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