A few months ago, wearyworker wrote about the fatal killer whale attack in Sea World San Diego wherein a veteran trainer, 40-year old Dawn Brancheau was killed in front of spectators.
Following the incident, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators have recently concluded that Sea World has willfully exposed its employees to “struck-by” and drowning hazards because of the interaction with the killer whales.
The OHSA found in their investigation that the trainers had a long history of being involved in unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents with the whales. Allegedly, despite the record, management has failed to improve the safety of the work environment of the employees.
The federal officials said that trainers should not work with the killer whales unless they are protected by physical barriers, decking systems, or other devices that would control or provide safety buffers.
The company in a blog post however, started that it will challenge the OHSA’s decision. According to Sea World, the safety of their guests and employees as well as the welfare of their animals are areas which they do not compromise.
In its report, Cal-OHSA claimed that humans that swim and perform with killer whales are putting their lives in danger. The performance aspect of the trainer’s work was likened more to a circus than a zoo. Under the law, employees have the right to work in a safe and hazard-free environment.
Sea World was fined $75,000 and will have 15 days to contest the citation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.