BERKSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. — Kimberlee Francoeur, a 30-year-old Lanesborough woman, died at the Jiminy Park Mountain Resort Jan. 4 in a tragic accident.
Francoeur, a resort snowmaker, was preparing the mountain for skiers when the accident occurred. Witnesses said a snow groomer operator backed into the snowmobile Francoeur was using on the mountain at about 11 a.m.
Jiminy Peak Ski Patrol and Northern Berkshire EMS attempted to save Francoeur, but she succumbed to her injuries at the resort at about 11:20 a.m.
Francoeur had reportedly spent nearly 10 years working for the ski resort as a snowmaker. In interviews with local news outlets, her family and co-workers described her as a laid-back, friendly woman who deeply loved the outdoors and her job.
Commentary on the fatal workplace accident in Berkshire County
I am deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Ms. Kimberlee Francoeur in such a senseless accident and extend my condolences to the family and friends left grieving.
Workplace accidents are no respecter of person. My firm has represented clients of all ages and experience in accidents ranging from corporate negligence to employee misconduct. Ms. Francoeur was a seasoned employee with over nine years of experience. Undoubtedly, Ms. Francoeur was engaged in everyday work that she had likely performed countless times over her career. I am left wondering what steps the parties could have taken to prevent such a tragic accident from occurring.
In the wake of fatal accidents, many focus their attention on the accident scene and fail to consider the proceeding acts that allowed the events to unfold. However, I am just as concerned with the ski resort’s policy and procedures designed to prevent such accidents as I am with the snowmaker’s acts at the time of the accident. Employers have a duty to their employees to enact policies designed to mitigate the risk of harm. What procedures did this ski resort have in place? Was the driver of the snowmaker adequately trained, and was that training followed? Often, policies must be specific to the conditions. For instance, was there incremental weather that limited visibility, and if so, were procedures for such conditions enacted and followed?
Until we have more details, it is difficult to determine precisely where fault rests in this case. A detailed investigation will uncover the facts surrounding the accident, provide the family with answers, and ensure safer work environments for us all.
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