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December 18, 2012

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Steel furnace falls, kills pair, burns 6 severely at Baosteel Group plant

TWO workers were killed and another 13 injured after a ladle furnace in a steel plant in Shanghai toppled yesterday.

Six of the injured had severe burns and were in severe condition by 7pm yesterday.

The ladle furnace toppled as the workers of the MCC Baosteel Technology Service Co, a subsidiary of the country's largest steel company, Baosteel Group, were removing a byproduct of steel-making called slag from the furnace at 9:10am, the company said.

One side of the ladle hook fell as crane was carrying the 270-ton ladle furnace, which toppled over. The molten iron inside poured out, killing two workers below immediately, and injured another 13, according to an initial report by the city government.

The temperature of the molten iron was believed to be as high as 1,600 degrees Celsius.

According to the hospital, the injured workers, all male, aged between 22 and 41. Many had inhalation injuries.

Among them, six were severely burnt. A worker surnamed Li had 99 percent of his body burnt. The other seven were described as stable.

An injured worker surnamed Zhong told a TV news reporter that he was on the eighth floor when he and eight others were hit by a heat blast.

"We covered our heads and quickly lay down on the ground," said Zhong, who suffered burns in his lungs.

Doctors said the inhalation injuries could have been fatal.

Zhong's colleague who visited the hospital yesterday told a reporter that workers usually are not allowed to stand beneath the ladle when it's being moved with the crane.

The workers said the equipment had regular safety checks once every two months and they called the accident shocking.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, Shanghai work safety officials said. The factory has been cordoned off.


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