Ernesto Paramo never knew his shift on August 4 would be his last, leaving his family and friends to grieve his untimely death. The 30-year-old welder clocked in as he had many times before and then went to work at Superior Steel Products Inc. Paramo was in an unsecured basket raised improperly on a forklift about 9 feet off the floor when the basket fell off a forklift onto the concrete floor below. Sadly, Paramo is not alone. In the past year, nearly one in four Idaho workplace fatalities were a result of improper forklift use.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found Superior Steel did not protect employees from numerous hazards related to the use of forklifts, including training, modifications and operation. Investigators also discovered confined space, flammable liquid and respiratory hazards. OSHA has proposed fines of $38,780 for these violations.
"We send our condolences to the family and friends of Ernesto Paramo," said Galen Blanton, acting OSHA regional administrator in Seattle. "They lost someone they loved because Superior Steel Products did not ensure basic safety procedures for dangerous heavy equipment."
OSHA's Boise area office has developed a local emphasis program for the powered industrial trucks enforcement program to target many of the hazards found during their investigation.
Based in Caldwell, Idaho, Superior Steel Products is a manufacturer of steel and aluminum storage tanks, such as crude oil tankers, aviation fuel storage, fuel transportation tanks, fertilizer storage tanks and chemical transportation tanks.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov.