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Ski resort receives citations from OSHA after worker death

In December of last year, a post discussed some of the dangers of working at a ski resort after a ski-patrol director was killed in an avalanche. He had been working on a slope, trying to decrease the chances of an avalanche after a particular heavy storm that weekend.

Generally, ski resort workers are often exposed to the possibility of workplace injuries on the slopes. But after this particular incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation to determine whether the ski resort was properly protecting its workers' safety.

Now it appears that the OSHA investigation has come to a close. According to the article, the ski resort may be paying $17,000 in fines for three alleged safety violations, two of which were related to the ski-patrol director's death. The safety violations were for:

  • Not requiring at least two individuals in every avalanche blasting crew
  • Not requiring ski patrollers to wear helmets in environments and situations where there was a risk for head injuries
  • Not installing standard handrails on the stairs near the summit house

According to the article, OSHA used the industry standards and best practices to determine whether there were any violations at the ski resort.

Work environments should not expose workers to unnecessary dangers. Getting injured at work can be extremely frustrating for individuals. Not only can a work accident cause serious injury, but it can also have an impact on the worker and his or her family financially. Workers who are injured on-the-job may be entitled to workers' compensation. These benefits can help an employee with medical costs and lost wages while recovering from the injury.

Source: Summit County Citizens Voice online, "OSHA finds 'serious' alleged violations during investigation of Wolf Creek ski patrol director's avalanche death," Bob Berwyn, 13 April 2011

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