The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined SeaWorld Orlando for safety violations and labeled it as a repeat offender, according to NBC News 4 in Jacksonville. OSHA officials inspected the family-oriented sea life park in December of 2012.
OSHA has been investigating the park since 2010 when trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed in a tank while working with a killer whale. OSHA recommended that SeaWorld make changes such as “prohibiting animal trainers from working with killer whales…unless the trainers are protected through the use of physical barriers or the trainers are required to maintain a minimum safe distance.” It seems like common sense to protect workers from exposure to an animal that is called a killer whale.
In April, OSHA attorneys testified in court that SeaWorld’s steps to protect its trainers remained inadequate. SeaWorld contended it implemented the changes, but the judge upheld the violations and ordered SeaWorld to pay $12,000 in fines. OSHA has now announced an additional $38,500 in fines from the follow-up inspection.
It is disturbing that OSHA has to fight with SeaWorld tooth and nail to implement these safety measures. Employers have an obligation to protect workers. Contact our firm today for a free consultation if you have been injured—you may be entitled to workers comp benefits.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus workers comp lawyers