SeaWorld can be a magical, adventurous place to travel to and explore. Located in Florida, California and Texas, it’s one of the biggest oceanic amusement park chains. SeaWorld, however, has fought the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, on numerous accounts. Today, the company has been cited for even more violations within its parks.
The SeaWorld located in San Diego, California, has recently been hit with a fine for not training their staff in safety measures regarding proper work with orcas. This has especially been a topic of concern, after a forty-year old trainer, named Dawn Brancheau, was killed by a killer whale, named Tilikum, in February of 2010; the tragic event was the third incident involving the death of worker. During a show entitled, “Dine with Shamu,” Brancheau was rubbing Tilikum when the whale grabbed her and pulled her into the water. More than a dozen patrons witnessed the incident; in an attempt to distract Tilikum, nets and food were thrown at the whale, but to no avail.
SeaWorld Fights OSHA’s Lofty Fine
On August in 2010, OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fined the San Diego park $75,000 for three safety violations, including the one resulting in Brancheau’s death. Tilikum, the whale that caused the death of Brancheau returned to the stage in March of 2011. This time, instead of massaging him personally, like Brancheau did before her death, high pressure hoses were used.
Ever since the incident that took place five years ago, OSHA has been keeping a close watch on SeaWorld around the world. Recently, OSHA has fined the park again, this time for $38,000 for a repeat violation. SeaWorld was given a federal court order for operating an establishment that recognized hazards that were likely to cause serious injury and even death to the employees working there. The fine came after a follow up inspection, which give the park four years to clean up its act. It was highly recommended for anyone working closely with a killer whale to be separated from the mammal using some sort of barrier.
SeaWorld has been struggling back and forth with OSHA, determining the safest way to interact with the killer whales. Since Brancheau’s death, there have been no reported injuries caused by the large animals, but OSHA remains attentive to the problem. Employees at SeaWorld are still allowed to touch and interact with the whales, but there are safe distance measures that have to be followed. If an employee is crouched near a killer whale, he or she must remain three feet away and eighteen inches away from a pool containing a killer whale.
It may be difficult to live in harmony with nature, but it is immensely important that we learn to do so: