On November 8, 1996, a 29-year-old male ski patrol/guide (victim) died from injuries after he was run over by a tracked vehicle (snow cat) during trail building/snowgrooming operations. The victim had been riding in the rear passenger compartment of a snow cat being used for routine grooming of ski trails. During a pass down a hill, the operator stopped the vehicle in order evaluate their progress and change direction. Communication between the two compartments was restricted to visual hand signals. Rear perimeter visibility from within the operator's compartment was severely limited. The victim, having exited the rear compartment, was in back of the vehicle when he was struck. A co-worker (witness) in the front compartment passenger seat felt a bump and noticing a red spray, alerted the operator to stop the vehicle. The victim was pinned under the track vehicle and sustained severe head trauma. The witness ran to the ridge and yelled down that there was an accident and he needed an ambulance. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by a responding physician who was snowmobiling in the area. It was surmised that the victim, having exited with his skis, had returned for his ski poles when he was run over. Based on the findings of the epidemiologic investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program; 2. consider installing two-way communication devices inside the separate compartments of track vehicles so that operators and passengers can communicate without leaving their compartments. Additionally, equipment manufacturers should: 3. consider equipment engineering designs and controls to detect and warn mobile equipment operators of the potential presence of individuals in the blind spot of the equipment.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Occupational-accidents; Equipment-design; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-programs; Equipment-operators