With record amounts of snow accumulation, it has been a good winter for downhill skiing and snowboarding parks in Illinois. However, the season went downhill fast for a snowboarding park in Algonquin over the weekend when a teen worker was seriously injured.
According to reports, the 17-year-old was working at a beginner hill at Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park on Sunday when his arm became entangled in the conveyor lift. A fellow park worker discovered the injured teen, still conscious, in a pit at the top of the hill where the lift sits.
Dozens of rescuers had to work for around an hour to free the teen’s arm from the apparatus, which is used to transport skiers and snowboarders up the hill like a conveyor belt.
Once the worker was finally freed, he was immediately airlifted to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for treatment. Officials have not provided an update on the teen’s condition.
Inspectors with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration arrived at the snowboarding park on Monday to determine whether any safety violations contributed to the workplace accident.
OSHA inspectors will conduct interviews with employees and inspect the equipment involved. One specific thing they will look for is whether the machinery had a lock mechanism that kept it from powering on while being serviced.
Additionally, OSHA investigators will attempt to determine if workers received the proper training they needed to work with the machinery.
One might think that working in parks and recreation is a safe and easy job for young people; however, as this situation illustrates, any job that involves heavy machinery can be dangerous and requires effective safety precautions.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “OSHA launches probe of accident at snowboard park,” Amanda Marrazzo, March 3, 2014