April 11, 2007
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302
Worker fatally injured in January 2007 snowcat accident
MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today cited Crested Butte LLC, owner of the Crested Butte Ski Resort, for alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards. The company is being cited for one alleged willful violation and one other-than-serious violation, with proposed penalties totaling $67,500.
OSHA's area office in Englewood, Colo., conducted an inspection of Crested Butte LLC in January 2007 following a fatal accident in which an employee was crushed by a snowcat during slope grooming operations on the ski mountain.
"Crested Butte LLC failed to protect its employees from known hazards which contributed to the death of an employee engaged in snowcat operations," said John Healy, OSHA's area director in Englewood. "OSHA will ensure that this employer takes responsibility to correct safety and health hazards. All employers should evaluate their workplaces to ensure employees are operating safe equipment."
The alleged willful violation involves failure to properly maintain the snowcats used to groom ski slopes. Safety switches in the door and armrest designed to automatically activate the braking system had been by-passed. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The alleged other-than-serious violation is associated with the employer's failure to report the accident to OSHA within eight hours.
The employer has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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