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Avalanche at Colorado ski resort could result in death benefits

Here in Colorado, people come from all over the world to vacation at ski resorts. The employees who work there likely do so because they enjoy the outdoors and the non-traditional work environment. However, like any workplace, there are still safety precautions that must be taken. In the past, we have discussed the prevalence of avalanches at several Colorado ski resorts. A recent avalanche that took the life of one worker at the Wolf Creek Ski area could necessitate the filing for death benefits by the worker's family.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the ski area was training employees in avalanche safety. Patrollers were flown into an area about 15 miles away from the main resort. It is not known precisely what happened, but an avalanche took the life of a ski patrol member during the training exercise. OSHA has cited Wolf Creek with $14,000 worth of violations. OSHA reps say that the patrolmen were not provided with a way to contact base operations or first responders in an emergency.

Wolf Creek's owner is also facing possible misdemeanor charges related to this incident. If any are officially filed, it could be for unauthorized activity outside of the resort that resulted in an employee's death. Wolf Creek has contested OSHA's citations and is attempting to resolve the matter. 

No matter the outcome of the citations or possible charges, the family of the man who was killed in the avalanche has the option of filing for death benefits. These benefits are a part of workers' compensation that Colorado families can choose to file for after losing loved ones in workplace accidents. They may mean a great deal to those who could be undergoing difficult financial times after such a tragedy.

Source: CBS Denver, "Regulators Cite Wolf Creek After Avalanche Death", , Sept. 18, 2014

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