Brian Head Cited in Employee Death

Brian Head Cited in Employee Death

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CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) -- Brian Head Resort has been cited for an alleged safety violation in the death of a lift operator.

The citation by the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleged lack of machine guarding on its snow tubing hill.

Kathleen Downward, 18, was killed Feb. 19 when she became entangled in the lift machinery she was operating.

"There was no guarding that was designed and in place because the manufacturer didn't put it in there," said Tori Burns, OSHA compliance manager.

The snow tubing park recently reopened after being closed during the investigation.

The resort's snow tubing hill has been open for eight years and functions like a frozen waterslide. It offers six lanes with a surface lift that carries people riding the tubes hooked to a rope tow to the top of the park.

Downward had just finished her shift when the accident occurred.

"Our investigation findings were that she was caught by a hook and taken over the bull wheel. We have two eye witnesses that told us that," said Gary Bulloch, Brian Head public safety director. `

Craig McCarthy, resort director of marketing and public relations, said the only information they had received from OSHA was approval to reopen the park.

"We have not heard from OSHA about a safety citation, interestingly enough," McCarthy said. "We got the green light to continue normal operation of the tubing park and we will continue that normal operation. ... But out of respect for the family, we'd rather not make any comment until we have more information.'

Sherrie Downward, Kathleen's mother, said she'd seen her daughter operate the tubing hill lift machinery and it appeared safe.

Sherrie said the family does not intend to pursue any legal action.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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