Working in an environment with life-threatening danger can often require proper training and a defined plan in case of an emergency. The Colorado Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently made the decision to cite a Colorado ski resort $14,000 for its involvement in a potentially preventable accident that resulted in an employee’s death. The patroller lost his life outside of the ski resort when a routine avalanche training accident resulted and apparently caused his fatal physical injury.
A group of employees were engaged in avalanche training when the tragic accident took pace. Workers had been airlifted for their training to a location about 15 miles from the resort. The agency determined that the ski resort did not properly investigate the safety of the area before dispatching employees for exercises.
As an actual avalanche took place, workers may have been placed in a situation without backup support. Reports indicate that the ski resort failed to provide a method in which employees could contact the resort in the event of an emergency. Without contact, employees in the field would have no way of notifying first responders should an accident occur.
Officials noted that the ski resort may be liable for activities that were unauthorized beyond the ski resort property. The Colorado resort has reportedly contested the violations although the U.S. Forest Service had made the decision to move forward with a misdemeanor charge against the owner of the resort. A family that has lost a loved one from a preventable physical injury at work may seek guidance in pursuing all available workers’ compensation benefits as a result of a fatal on-the-job accident.
Source: chieftain.com, “OSHA cites Wolf Creek“, , Sept. 18, 2014