Company Cited For Employee Mauling Death - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Company Cited For Employee Mauling Death

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BOZEMAN - On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two citations to the Wildlife Casting Agency, Animals of Montana, after a bear mauled and killed a 24-year old trainer last November.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the death of 24-year-old bear trainer, Benjamin Cloutie, was completely preventable if the company would have had a secondary enclosure.

"The employer did not provide what OSHA would call a safe and healthy work place, so we issued a general duty clause violation for not having a secondary contentment," said Jeff Funke, OSHA-Billings Director.

After hearing about the death from media outlets, OSHA opened a case and inspected the facility. Two proposed citations were issued to the Animals of Montana totaling $9,000.

The first citation was one serious violation for allowing employees to have unrestricted direct contact with grizzly bears.

"We issued that citation based on what other entities in the same industry that have dangerous animals due to protect their employees," said Funke.

The other citation issued was failure to report an occupational fatality within a timely manner.

"The employer has a responsibility to contact OSHA within 8 hours and that didn't happen in this case," said Funke.

Animals of Montana has three options on how they can react to the proposed citations.

They can contact contest the violation if they don't believe OSHA is correct and they think they have a legal standing then it would eventually go in front of mystery of law judge," said Funke.

"They could chose to have an informal conference with me here in Billings or they could do nothing and the case would go final order after 15 days."

ABC/FOX Montana did get in contact with Animals of Montana owner, Troy Hyde, but he did not want to comment at this time.

Hyde said he has reviewed the letter from OSHA and is still working on what the company will do next.

Funke said the company will need to make some changes or OSHA will file a lawsuit.

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