Pacific Steel & Recycling employee dies in Boise forklift accident

Police and federal investigators are examining how a forklift pinned a Caldwell man.

kterhune@idahostatesman.comDecember 16, 2013 

fort lift accident, fatal, downtown, boise

The scene behind the Joe R. Williams Building in Downtown Boise, where a man died after being pinned by a forklift Monday, Dec. 16.


Todd L. Wolf, 51, was killed Monday in a forklift accident along West Washington Street in Downtown Boise, the Ada County Coroner’s Office said.

Police found the Caldwell man pinned beneath a forklift in the block between 7th and 8th streets, behind the Joe R. Williams Building.

Wolf was a Pacific Steel & Recycling employee, the company confirmed. Police say he was operating the forklift as it was being unloaded from a trailer. When the forklift tipped, it crushed Wolf beneath it.

Wolf and two coworkers were moving furniture when the accident happened.

Dispatchers received the call about the accident at 9:50 a.m. The first officer was on scene within a minute, police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said, but Wolf already appeared to have died.

Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg ruled Wolf's death an accident and said he died of blunt force trauma.

Typically in an industrial accident, Hightower said, detectives will perform the initial investigation, then work with other agencies such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration as they are called in.

The Boise OSHA office confirmed that investigators were headed to the scene midday Monday. OSHA spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said the investigators would work to gather information from the scene and interview the man’s employers and coworkers.

“They’re going to determine if there were any violations that occurred that contributed to this, or that they find at the site or with the employer,” she said.

Pacific Steel declined further comment on the accident.

If investigators find violations, the company will be issued citations, Amaden said. OSHA has six months to announce the findings of the investigation.

Violations could include insufficient training or failure to maintain equipment, she said. In some cases, she said, the employer is determined to have done nothing wrong.

“It’s not looking for fault, it’s not looking for blame, it’s just looking to see if the measures an employer should be taking to have a safe and healthy workplace are being followed,” she said.

Katie Terhune: 377-6219

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