Hunter Mountain faces OSHA scrutiny for death of worker

Above: Hunter Mountain, where snow machine operator Brian Mattice fell to his death in January. Photo by Flickr user Paul Everett; published under Creative Commons license.

The Hunter Mountain ski center has been cited for federal health and safety violations after a federal probe of the death of snow machine operator Brian Mattice in January, the Daily Star reports today.

Reporter Joe Mahoney writes that the ski center faces $8,500 in proposed fines for various violations:

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Hunter Mountain failed to provide workers with training on the "limitations" of using spiked footwear devices to prevent slipping or falling while working near snow gear. The agency also said Hunter did not require its workers to carry radio or communication devices so they could call for help if needed.

Brian's brother, Chad Mattice, also spoke to Mahoney. Hunter's account of the accident doesn't add up, he said -- and OSHA's probe didn't dig deep enough.

Chad Mattice questioned whether OSHA investigators interviewed anyone beyond Hunter Mountain managers, noting he had called the federal agency's Albany office but never received a return call.

"None of this adds up," he said, noting there are questions about the time line of events on the morning in question as well as the procedures in place at Hunter Mountain.