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Highlights of 14/2008
           

Created: 4/7/2008
Author: Recorded by: Andy BILLIGHAM, Marian HUTNAN
Category: 14/2008



Five men - five fates

Each one of us carries within us the stories of our lives. Joyful, sorrowful, even tragic, fatal events. U. S. Steel Kosice employees have spoken out about them. Partly to warn others of the danger that is always lying in wait.
"It's hard to talk about these things, and it takes courage," thinks USS Senior Vice President-North American Flat-Roll Operations David H. Lohr, particularly about those fatal events. It's not easy for him either to talk about things which happened in his family thirty years ago. In a serious traffic accident, a collision between four automobiles and a removals truck, his brother died, just 21 years old, together with three other men in their car.
There was just 45 minutes to go till the end of the shift. Even today, 24 years later, Vladimir Janitor can remember everything clearly. "I'd just done three nights in a row, and in my mind I could already see myself in the bus and then at home in bed... I was looking forward to those two days off... But in a fraction of a second everything changed..." While checking the surface of a roller, his hand was dragged into the leveler. In a moment he had lost his fingers…
"I never even thought that anything like that could happen to me," says Shipping Division Shift Foreman Ladislav Molnar, starting his own story, and his eyes drift involuntarily down to his left arm. The memories are still fresh. In January it was exactly a year since the accident which happened to him at work. Falling off a ramp, not very high, only just over a meter, he landed awkwardly. Ladislav's arm took the brunt of the impact. "I broke my shoulder. And who knows how it would have turned out if I hadn't've been wearing my helmet…" he reflects. What followed was long weeks and months of treatment.
"I've been a blast-furnace man nearly 24 years now, working as first melter since 2002," says friendly 40-year-old Miroslav Zahurancik, and starts telling his story. "I work with hot metal every day, and there's a constant threat of danger, but in spite of that I never had an injury for years and years, not until last year, that is…" After tapping he wanted to repair the tap-hole with his colleagues, using a flat grille for standing on. When they were removing the grille from below the tap-hole, his foot slipped on the sand-covered side of the main pig-iron runner and went into the molten metal…
Steelmakers still have vivid memories of a tragic incident which happened at the end of 2006 on the railway tracks near the blast furnaces plant. This was where 53-year-old electro-separator mechanic Miroslav Siler lost his life. He was knocked down and killed by a locomotive as he was crossing the tracks in an unmarked place. Two young men, Rudolf Petrik and Marian Spisak, won't forget December 16th, 2006 till their dying day, as they were witnesses to the event.
Safety film with these personal stories is available to all employees on company intranet and DVD.

New home at the Zoo for pair of lynx

Last Sunday's sunny skies did wonders for the countryside. Hundreds of parents with their children took advantage of the warm spring weather, eager not to miss the first event at Kosice Zoo up near Kavecany before the actual official opening of the new season. A pair of the largest wild cat species in this country - the lynx, or bobcat - got a new home here on that day, thanks to sponsorship from U. S. Steel Kosice. At the official ceremony, followed by a rich entertainment program full of dancing, singing and competitions in the natural amphitheater, the host, Kosice Zoo Director Stefan Kollar welcomed the new U. S. Steel Kosice President George F. Babcoke and his wife Kathleen, together with Kosice City Mayor Frantisek Knapik.

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