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Sea World fined in death of trainer

by Leah Zanolla
Aug 23, 2010

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined SeaWorld a total of nearly $75,000 after a six-month investigation into the tragic death of one of its trainers. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, not only will SeaWorld incur the large fines, but they have been advised by OSHA to make some major adjustments in how they work with the killer whales. The largest violation resulting in a $70,000 fine was classified as "willful" by OSHA. A "willful" violation is defined as "The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or were likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees." The official report suggests trainers have zero contact with Tilikum (the whale involved in the original incident) without protective barriers. In addition, OSHA also makes recommendations for further operational changes with all killer whales to best protect trainers from any danger.

In a statement on their official blog, SeaWorld vows to appeal the citations saying, "SeaWorld disagrees with the unfounded allegations made by OSHA today...the safety of our guests and employees and the welfare of our animals are core values for SeaWorld and areas in which we do not compromise."






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