OSHA and USFS review Avalung accident

Reported in the Summit County Citizens Voice

Wolf Creek ski patrol director Scott Kay was wearing an Avalung breathing device when he was killed by a soft snow avalanche on Nov. 22, but was not able to deploy the Avalung before he was buried, according to a technical report posted by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. According to the CAIC report, the mouthpiece was still secured in the shoulder pack of the harness when Kay was uncovered by rescue workers.


OSHA officials and the U.S. Forest Service are conducting separate reviews of the accident. John Healy, area director for the federal agency, said there’s no official timeline for the investigation, but that it must be completed within six months. According to Healy, there are no specific federal safety regulations relating to avalanche control work.

Instead, OSHA will use accepted industry standards and best practices as the yardstick to determine whether Kay was unnecessarily exposed to risk under the agency’s “general duty” clause.

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