Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skier safety bill introduced in California

April 22, 2009

Media Contact:
Lisa Yates, 916-552-2650 or 916-215-9550 (cell),

Legislation Calls for Improved Safety Measures at
California Ski Resorts

Medical Experts, Coalition and Consumers Join Together
in Support of Assembly Bill 990

Sacramento , CA — New legislation aimed at improving consumer protection and safety at California ski resorts was announced at the State Capitol today. Assembly Bill 990, authored by Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), focuses on public access to California ski resort safety plans, standardization of signage and safety padding and serious injuries and fatalities reporting.

“Presently, the California ski industry has no ski safety statute and limited ski and snowboard safety standards,” said Dan Gregorie, M.D., president and founder of the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization, which advocates for standardized safety measures. “We are extremely supportive of AB 990 that will improve safety for California skiers and snowboarders and, hopefully, significantly reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries.”

AB 990 calls for California ski resorts to take several new steps, including ensuring the public can easily access their safety plans, which is not currently required. Under the new legislation, ski resorts:
§ Must file safety plans with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA),
§ Make the plans accessible to the public,
§ Report all serious injuries and fatalities to Cal/OSHA quarterly, and
§ Post adequate safety signs to facilitate the safe flow of skiers and to warn of hazardous terrain.

Finally and significantly, AB 990 will require ski resorts to establish standardized ski area boundaries and hazard and warning signs as well as standardized use of uniform safety padding for natural obstacles and infrastructure.

“While tragic accidents at California ’s ski resorts are, fortunately, not common, we know we can do more to protect the safety of ski resort enthusiasts and workers. Having a clear safety plan, posting adequate signs warning of possible dangers and changing conditions are the tools we need to put in place to ensure the safety of those enjoying California ’s mountains,” said Assemblymember Dave Jones. “I am pleased to be working with the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization to craft legislation to put these important protections in place.”

AB 990 is strongly supported by the California Medical Association, California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, California Chiropractic Association, California Coalition for Children’s Safety & Health, California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization, SnowSport Safety Foundation, Saferparks, and numerous individuals, skiers and snowboarders concerned about safety on the slopes.

“CAL/ACEP has a long history of supporting injury and illness prevention legislation like this, including long-standing support for California ’s motorcycle helmet law,” said William K. Mallon, M.D., FACEP, president of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (CAL/ACEP). “During the winter months, CAL/ACEP members see patients with injuries resultant from ski and snowboard accidents.

“Many of these injuries could be avoided if ski resorts posted uniform signage alerting skiers and snowboarders to specifically dangerous or hazardous areas. CAL/ACEP also feels that it is critically important to gather data on the number of deaths and injuries that occur at California ’s ski resorts. Using this data, CAL/ACEP believes that stronger accident prevention and injury management standards could be developed to better protect ski resort patrons as a result of collecting this information.”


The California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization (CSSSO) is a non-profit California corporation based in San Francisco . CSSSO promotes and supports safety improvements in California skiing, snowboarding and recreational snow sports and serves as an independent, factual public resource regarding the safety of California ski resorts. For more information, visit

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