SeaWorld appeal for workplace safety hazards gets rejected

In a vote of 2-1, a federal appeals court on Friday, April 11 upheld the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s ruling that Orlando, Florida-based SeaWorld theme park had been negligent by exposing its trainers to known hazards by enabling their close proximity to killer whales during performances.

The case stemmed from the Feb. 24, 2010 death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau when the killer whale she was training, Tilikum, pulled her under the water of a pool before a live audience at Shamu Stadium.

In SeaWorld’s argument against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ruling that it has invariably exposed its employees to physical danger, SeaWorld contested that the claim was unsubstantiated by evidence.

However, federal appeals judge Judith Rogers, who agreed with OSHA’s ruling, said that the incident, which she described as “preventable,” wouldn’t have happened if SeaWorld had taken greater precautions when allowing workers to interact with the killer whales.

At Scudder Seguin, PLLC, we know that many people in Raleigh are injured as a result of completing work-related tasks. If this has happened to you and you need help pursuing workers’ compensation, call us at (919) 851-3311 to find out how we can help you.