Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Work goes on as Kennecott Copper officials conduct a tour Monday, June 22, 2015, showing areas of the dump sites that are going to be reclaimed with vegetation over the next several years.

MAGNA — A Rio Tinto Kennecott employee exposed to sulfur dioxide over the weekend has died, company officials said.

Albert Lozano, 64, was working at the Garfield smelter west of Magna on Sunday, performing regular duties to remove debris from a boiler, when he was exposed to the toxic gas, said Rio Tinto Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett.

Lozano had been with the company for 12 years, Bennett said.

"Right now, we don't know exactly how the exposure took place," he said.

A boiler is used as part of the smelting process, Bennett explained, and every once in a while, particulate matter needs to be cleaned out of it.

Lozano was treated at the scene before being taken to a local hospital, where he died Tuesday night, Bennett said.

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"This is devastating news to our business. We pride ourselves on safety. So when something like this happens, it really shakes us to our core," he said.

The entire Rio Tinto Kennecott plant shut down for an hour Wednesday as administrators and counselors checked on their employees' mental and physical well-being. The smelter will remain closed until the company can figure out what happened and determine whether it's safe, Bennett said.

Employees who work at the smelter are required to wear a respirator while performing their duties, he said. It was not immediately known whether Lozano was wearing one Sunday.