SeaWorld in San Diego has been cited by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health at the Department of Industrial Relations for allowing unsafe conditions for employees. The citations are based on allegations that the company did not provide the proper training needed for employees to safely work with whales. SeaWorld has stated that it will appeal the citations and that no workplace injuries or accidents have actually occurred.
The citations were given after a complaint prompted Cal/OSHA to launch an investigation into work conditions at the location. Specifically, the organization is accused of failing to provide a safe work environment for employees and failing to make them aware of hazards. Employers are required to actively evaluate work conditions for all workers.
Although trainers are no longer allowed to ride and swim with the orcas, the citations state that the trainers were still doing that while the whales were in the medical pool. SeaWorld San Diego claims that the citations are not based on any specific incident that caused injury or harm. In fact, the organization claims to have made significant improvements to the safety standards for the trainers over the last few years.
Employers should always strive to prevent workplace injuries, even for employees who have inherently dangerous jobs. Proper training and an awareness of potential safety hazards can greatly reduce the risk of physical injury or an on-the-job death. After sustaining an injury at work, a victim may seek benefits through workers’ compensation and may find the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer to be an asset during the potentially complex legal process.
Source: latimes.com, “Cal/OSHA cites SeaWorld San Diego for safety violations; park vows to appeal“, Tony Perry, April 30, 2015