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Park City/Vail Fined by UOSH/OSHA for Patroller Death

2Planker

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I don't see how they could have prevented this.
That's a very big part of the First Ride Line Check procedure....
Anything hanging over the liftline is BAD. Need 5' clearance on both sides for lift to run safely.

Every place has it's own reason's to close a lift but at most east coast places that'd shut it down temporarily.

Vail loaded the lift, w/ an obvious hazard overhead, and someone died as a result - 1000% GUILTY
 

cdskier

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That's a very big part of the First Ride Line Check procedure....
Anything hanging over the liftline is BAD. Need 5' clearance on both sides for lift to run safely.

Every place has it's own reason's to close a lift but at most east coast places that'd shut it down temporarily.
Vail loaded the lift, w/ an obvious hazard overhead
1000% GUILTY

Eh? How was it an obvious hazard overhead? I don't see that mentioned at all in the report. The employee that did the first ride line check stated there was nothing over-hanging the line itself according to the report.
 

2Planker

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Eh? How was it an obvious hazard overhead? I don't see that mentioned at all in the report. The employee that did the first ride line check stated there was nothing over-hanging the line itself according to the report.
Very good point IF that was the case…. If someone doing the line check wasn’t really paying attention, then its a different story.
 

djd66

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This was a freak accident. I feel horrible for the guy that died and his family, but there was nothing in the report i read that prove negligence by Vail. One thing I question, was the bar down on the chair? If the bar was down, I would think it would be pretty difficult fall out of the chair. if It were up, I could see how being violently shaken, you could easily fall out. If there are pictures, I’m sure that will come out during a potential lawsuit.
 

cdskier

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This was a freak accident. I feel horrible for the guy that died and his family, but there was nothing in the report i read that prove negligence by Vail. One thing I question, was the bar down on the chair? If the bar was down, I would think it would be pretty difficult fall out of the chair. if It were up, I could see how being violently shaken, you could easily fall out. If there are pictures, I’m sure that will come out during a potential lawsuit.

Agreed. I'm certainly no fan of Vail's...but the 2 primary conclusions of the report were that 1) two trees falling/needing to be removed the day prior should have meant more would fall and 2) that maybe they need more training to know how to identify hazardous trees during the line check. There was no conclusion at all that it was an "obvious" problem that was simply ignored.

For #1 - I'm sure there are plenty of times in nature that trees fall one day somewhere and none fall the next day...so this seems a pretty strange conclusion.
For #2 - I really don't know how exactly you can identify trees that aren't overly obvious problems. According to the report, an outside arborist said the tree was alive but failed at the roots. The tree could have looked perfectly fine right up until it fell. Patrollers that cut down the trees the day prior said they didn't see any other trees that looked potentially problematic.

Terrible tragedy for sure, but largely also a freak accident.
 

drjeff

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This was a freak accident. I feel horrible for the guy that died and his family, but there was nothing in the report i read that prove negligence by Vail. One thing I question, was the bar down on the chair? If the bar was down, I would think it would be pretty difficult fall out of the chair. if It were up, I could see how being violently shaken, you could easily fall out. If there are pictures, I’m sure that will come out during a potential lawsuit.
The corporate policy is that all employees have to put the bar down while riding a lift. Additionally all backpacks are supposed to not be on your back while riding a lift
 

raisingarizona

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That's a very big part of the First Ride Line Check procedure....
Anything hanging over the liftline is BAD. Need 5' clearance on both sides for lift to run safely.

Every place has it's own reason's to close a lift but at most east coast places that'd shut it down temporarily.

Vail loaded the lift, w/ an obvious hazard overhead, and someone died as a result - 1000% GUILTY
You saw it that morning and know personally that it was obvious?

If no then that’s quite the reach.
 

thetrailboss

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The corporate policy is that all employees have to put the bar down while riding a lift. Additionally all backpacks are supposed to not be on your back while riding a lift
OK, hold on. I remember in the older thread folks focused a lot on the fact that he may not have had the bar down. My understanding was that the tree hit the line with such force that regardless of the state of the safety bar the force was enough to throw him out, especially if he had no idea it was coming.

And I've seen a lot of comments about "how could this be prevented?" and "act of God." Maybe. Two points though. First, this is an OSHA review and the labor standards (for workers compensation claims) is easier to meet than a plain old tort claim. Second, the fact that Vail had to remove down trees in the area at least arguably demonstrates that they were on notice of the potential hazard.

That's all.
 

drjeff

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OK, hold on. I remember in the older thread folks focused a lot on the fact that he may not have had the bar down. My understanding was that the tree hit the line with such force that regardless of the state of the safety bar the force was enough to throw him out, especially if he had no idea it was coming.

And I've seen a lot of comments about "how could this be prevented?" and "act of God." Maybe. Two points though. First, this is an OSHA review and the labor standards (for workers compensation claims) is easier to meet than a plain old tort claim. Second, the fact that Vail had to remove down trees in the area at least arguably demonstrates that they were on notice of the potential hazard.

That's all.
Agree.

The reality is that unless someone has visual evidence of the status of the safety bar at the time the tree fell on the haul rope and caused the huge oscillation that launched the patroller out of the chair, it's all speculation. If Vail, without concrete proof that his bar was up at the time, choosees to pursue that if it goes to some civil type of case, well then that is truly terrible.

This seems like a totally random act of nature, probably similar to the random act of nature that had a tree in the middle of a light rain storm fall across my street this past weekend. Sometimes events like that just happen and it's tragic if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time when it does.

Second, if Vail had done the tree maintenance withing such and such a feet of the lift to accepted industry standards, then you are talking about a bigger picture thing of should those accepted industry standards of tree removal near a lift be looked at industry wide, and if so, would that greater amount of tree removal that it would likely entail be able to get through the likely revolt that the environmental movement would bring?
 

thetrailboss

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Agree.

The reality is that unless someone has visual evidence of the status of the safety bar at the time the tree fell on the haul rope and caused the huge oscillation that launched the patroller out of the chair, it's all speculation. If Vail, without concrete proof that his bar was up at the time, choosees to pursue that if it goes to some civil type of case, well then that is truly terrible.
The family cannot sue Vail. He was killed on the job. Workers Compensation is likely their exclusive remedy.
This seems like a totally random act of nature, probably similar to the random act of nature that had a tree in the middle of a light rain storm fall across my street this past weekend. Sometimes events like that just happen and it's tragic if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time when it does.
PCMR got 42" of snow in two days. That is quite different than your hypothetical.
 
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