SeaWorld Cited by OSHA After Animal Trainer’s Death

SeaWorld Cited by OSHA After Animal Trainer's Death

SeaWorld Cited by OSHA After Animal Trainer's Death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor cited SeaWorld recently for three violations of worker safety in response to the death of an animal trainer working at the Florida facility in February. The penalty for the company is $75,000.

The experts at OSHA explained that SeaWorld knew the risks that their trainers faced when dealing with their potentially dangerous animals. Despite these risks, SeaWorld required the trainer to work in the pools, along narrow ledges, where the animals could harm them.

In late February, a killer whale pulled a trainer under the water of the tank during what the company calls a “relationship session”. Park guests and video footage of the incident report the whale thrashing the trainer and holding her underwater. The autopsy named her cause of death as traumatic injuries and drowning.

The investigation by OSHA revealed that the killer whale was one of three involved in an animal trainer’s death in 1991. SeaWorld prohibited trainers from swimming with this whale due to his violent behavior, but let trainers touch and interact with the whale while in the shallow water around the pool’s edge.

OSHA has also discovered a long history of unexpected incidents involving the killer whales held in it’s facilities. These past incidents did not cause the company to develop better safety protocols. The most serious citation issued to SeaWorld involves the willful violation that accuses the company of allowing their trainers to face injury and drowning risks by interacting directly with killer whales. OSHA qualifies this as a willful violation because it appears that the company had little care to protect them employees.

SeaWorld must comply with the citations within 15 days, or they must either conference with local OSHA officials or contest the charges.

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