Bornstein family responds to Keystone OSHA citations
DENVER – The family of Ben Bornstein responded Friday to government citations issued against Keystone in the death of their son.
“I think this is an example of the good parts of government, what the government is really for, and that’s to protect workers in the workplace” said Peter Bornstein, Ben’s father.
“I think people fault the government for getting involved in private business but I think this is a perfect example of where the government is really doing a good thing,” he said. “They’ve really pinpointed some specific issues that were not addressed by private business.”
Keystone was cited with one serious violation and two willful violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Thursday in connection with the Nov. 25 death of Bornstein, who drowned when the snowmaking shelter he was working in filled with water. The citations are accompanied by more than $128,000 in fines.
In a statement released Thursday, Keystone Chief Operating Officer Roger McCarthy said the company planned to question the details and extent of the citations.
“Nonetheless, no matter what disagreements we may have with those findings, all of those discussions with the government pale in significance to the tragic accident that cost the life of Ben Bornstein,” said McCarthy.
“Ben was a valuable member of our resort team who was well respected by his coworkers and who made significant contributions, especially to the children of our community, through his guidance and leadership,” he said. “We again extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Speaking from his Denver law office, Bornstein’s father said he believed the company’s response to the accident had been “appropriate,” but he would still like further information.
“I think they’ve been somewhat guarded towards letting us know exactly what happened,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve received all the information I could have.”
Bornstein cited requests to speak with the Keystone employee working with his son at the time, but who was not present when the accident occurred, and said they had not been granted.
“(Nevertheless) I understand why they’re guarded,” said Bornstein. “They were guarded because they were facing an OSHA investigation.”
The citations allege Keystone’s failure to post required warning signs around confined spaces, to sufficiently train employees to work in such spaces, to provide information and access to rescue personnel for training and planning purposes, and to provide an egress, or exit, ladder for entry into the space.
“I think OSHA’s got some good ideas,” said Bornstein. “They’ve got some good ideas about ladders, (and) about aiding the fire department.”
“The fire department didn’t even know where they were or how to turn off the water,” Bornstein said of the accident involving his son.
Nevertheless, he said that the OSHA actions ultimately had little effect on this particular incident.
“All of this doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to Ben,” Bornstein said. “If it helps somebody else live and not get injured or killed, it will all be worth it. But it doesn’t have a lot to do with Ben anymore.”
Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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