California residents may be saddened to hear that SeaWorld has been hit with a violation and a hefty fine for running a dangerous workplace by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is the second violation that SeaWorld has faced, with the first following the wrongful death of one of its orca trainers.
When OSHA handed SeaWorld its first violation, all trainers were ordered to remain out of the orca tanks and to maintain a safe distance when the whales were on any stages or slide-out areas. According to reports, SeaWorld has kept its trainers out of the pools but still allows them to have close contact with the orcas.
SeaWorld has attempted to overturn the original violation so that its trainers could return to their normal work with the whales. However, the judge refused and cited numerous cases in which whales had seized their trainers during close-proximity work. The judge did ultimately reduce the safety violation.
SeaWorld attempted to have the decision appealed, but the Labor Department commission would not hear the case. The park has also filed an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, the new OSHA violation has once again ordered that SeaWorld mitigate the workplace hazards and prohibit close-proximity work with the orcas.
Workplace injuries can be life-changing events. They may result in permanent bodily damage or even unnecessary death and have a significant emotional and financial impact for both the victim and family members. An experienced California attorney may be able to help their clients by obtaining any entitled compensation to help with medical bills and other damages. The attorney may also be able to help their clients in the event that employers refuse to compensate their employees for accidents that occur on the job.
Source: Yahoo News, "BREAKING: U.S. Government Hits SeaWorld With Safety Violation—Again", June 10, 2013