Aquarium fined again for unsafe working conditions

Pennsylvania residents may know that SeaWorld Florida has been embroiled in lengthy legal battles related to workplace safety ever since one of its trainers was killed by an orca in February 2010 a few years ago. After the trainer’s death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reprimanded the park with a safety violation and a fine of $75,000. OSHA ordered the aquarium to keep its orca whale trainers out of the water and said trainers need to maintain a safe distance from the whales when the trainers are not in the water.

The aquarium started keeping its trainers out of the water, but numerous photos show trainers have continued to work in close proximity to the orcas. Some trainers were photographed hugging or touching the whales. OSHA spokespeople stated that an orca could attack a trainer who got so close. Wild animals in captivity can be unpredictable, and many trainers could be injured on the job.

The aquarium tried to challenge the OSHA violation four times in court but lost each time. The courts maintained that the park unnecessarily puts its workers at risk in the interest of profit and entertainment. Despite federal court orders to keep its workers away from the orca whales, little seems to have changed at the park. Now, OSHA has issued a new violation and a fine of almost $40,000.

While most professions are not as risky, on-the-job injuries are common in a number of fields. Doctors commonly see injuries to the back, neck, arm, leg and brain that are the result of unsafe conditions in the workplace. Sometimes, employers may willfully ignore workplace safety regulations, as in the case of the aquarium. Lawyers experienced in cases of workplace injuries may be able to help the victims of such negligence, who often face serious medical bills, recover compensation.

Source: Yahoo! News, “BREAKING: U.S. Government Hits SeaWorld With Safety Violation Again”, June 10, 2013

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