California bill would require ski resort safety plans, injury and fatality reporting
April 24, 2009
SACRAMENTO A California bill that would introduce safety requirements for ski resorts has taken its first step towards approval on Wednesday.Assembly Bill 990, authored by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, would require California ski resorts to file safety plans with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, make those plans available to the public, report all serious injuries and fatalities to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and post adequate safety signs in the resort. I lost my daughter in February 2006 in a skiing accident, and Ive spent quite a bit of time studying ski safety, said Dr. Dan Gregorie, president and founder of California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization. It became apparent there are a number of significant opportunities to improve safety.The bill was approved by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee Wednesday, he said.I am pleased to be working with the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization to craft legislation to put these important protections in place, said Jones in a press release.Gregorie said the bill has wide-spread support from California Medical Association, California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, California Chiropractic Association, California Coalition for Childrens Safety andamp; Health, California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization, SnowSport Safety Foundation, and Saferparks.Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association, said his organization has a few issues with the bill, but believes they can be worked out.We have concerns about reporting injuries simply because once theyve left [the ski resort] we dont know, Roberts said.Putting a 60- to 100-page safety report on a ski resorts website could be burdensome as well, Roberts said.We have no problem making them available, but how many people want to wade through a 60- to 100-page technical document? Roberts said.But Roberts said he thinks theyll come to an agreementWed like to support the bill, but were opposed until those changes are made, Roberts said. We are certainly going to work in good faith with the author.Gregorie said the bills requirements simply provide the public with information about safety at ski resorts, and could act as a catalyst for ski resorts to improve safety.The bill will now go through two readings at the state assembly, then if passed go on to the Senate Labor Committee, then the Senate floor, and if approved end up on the Governors desk potentially in September. If signed into law, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2010.