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Baldy Mountain Resort fined $7K for ‘high-risk violations’ in employee death

A satellite view of Mount Baldy Resort in the South Okanagan. Google Maps

A South Okanagan ski resort has been fined in the wake of an employee death last year.

The fatal accident happened in late February 2021, with a 70-year-old man dying after becoming stuck beneath a snow groomer.

In May, WorkSafeBC fined Baldy Mountain Resort $7,031.05 for the incident.

Read more: Man, 70, dies in workplace accident at South Okanagan ski resort: Police

The report by WorkSafeBC said two workers were travelling in the groomer to conduct maintenance on another piece of equipment. After stopping the groomer, one employee got out, but the snowcat suddenly moved forward, with the worker getting caught under it, suffering fatal injuries.

“WorkSafeBC’s investigation determined that the machine’s tiller had malfunctioned, preventing the operator from reversing the machine after the injured worker was caught,” said WorkSafe’s report.

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“In addition, neither worker had been adequately trained on this machine, which lacked an interlock mechanism to automatically apply the parking brake when a door of the cab was opened.

“Furthermore, no hazard identification or risk assessment had been conducted for the planned maintenance activities and no safe work procedures had been developed.”

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WorkSafe said the resort failed to ensure the health and safety of all workers at its worksite, and failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety.

“These were both high-risk violations,” said WorkSafeBC.

The organization says fines are imposed on employers for health and safety violations of the Workers Compensation Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and/or orders of WorkSafeBC, and for failure to take sufficient precautions to prevent workplace injuries or illnesses.

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It added that penalties are published as a deterrent and to highlight the importance of making workplaces safe.

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