Ski Resort Employee Loses Arm in Conveyor Accident

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MedFlight prepares to transport Russell Watts to Akron General Hospital after his arm was amputated while installing Clear Fork Ski Resort's new conveyor lift. / Jami Kinton/News Journal

SAM Magazine--November 21, 2012--An unfortunate accident at Clear Fork Resort in central Ohio, cost an employee his arm on Tuesday, November 20. Clear Fork Resort has been constructing a new tubing park, slated to open December 7, with 10 lanes serviced by a newly-installed conveyor lift. While working on the lift, employee Russell Watts had his left arm torn off. Watts was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he is listed in serious condition. Industry experts are renewing their plea for safe lock-out, tag-out procedures as resorts get their lifts in shape for the upcoming season to avoid accidents such as these.


Watts accident

What this fails to say, which is by no fault of SAM, as it is the fault of the media. Watts was reaching for something that he had dropped, while the conveyor was running. It was simple human error. Nothing wrong with the lift, nothing wrong with the system. Sadly enough not two weeks after this incident a lift operator was waiting for a chair to download and her top shack liftie had the bottom operator start the lift. She hung onto the back of the chair and fell onto a water hydrant for snowmaking. She's paralyzed from the waist down. Such a sad loss for a minimum wage job on something that COULD and SHOULD have been avoided. There needs to be a delay programed into EVERY lift, fixed, detachable - any. The customers can wait, employees lives can't.

people in a rush

What can you do besides tell people/ training to lock-out, tag-out? sorry to hear about this Russel. Why are industry experts renewing a plea? There are safe lock-out procedures, it just depends on the mechanics who want to use them to save their own limbs. Nothing wrong with the industry!