OSHA Fines SeaWorld

Monday, August 23, 2010

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, our US Dept of Labor's oversight arm) just released three citations against SeaWorld. The most severe, classified as "Willful" carries a $70,000 fine for exposing a trainer to a killer whale with "known aggressive tendencies". This was, of course, a fatal exposure as 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau was pulled underwater by Tilikum in Orlando. The 12,000 pound marine mammal was captured at age 2 off the coast of Iceland in 1983. He killed a trainer who fell into his pool 19 years ago in Canada and in 1999 was found with the corpse of a man who had jumped a SeaWorld fence draped over his back.
This is not the sole instance of mishaps at dolphin parks. There is a dark history behind forcing free beings into slavery.

Louie Psihoyos, who testified in Congress against SeaWorld earlier this year said,
"I’m heartened that OSHA fined SeaWorld with a willful violation of safety in the tragic death of an orca trainer. However, a $75,000 fine does not send a strong enough message to the captive dolphin industry about the inherent risks of confining marine mammals."
 In contrast, OSHA recently fined the US Post Office $350,000 for having electrical hazards.
SeaWorld was also fined $5000 for exposing its employees to a 10'3" fall hazard, "a stairway railing system was not installed on the front side right bridge of the Believe stage at Shamu Stadium."