The death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau was brought back into the headlines today when a federal judge upheld violations cited against SeaWorld by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the 2010 incident.
According to an article on CNN.com, SeaWorld had appealed the citations, saying its safety protocols were sufficient to protect trainers. However, the judge disagreed, pointing out that erecting physical barriers between the whales and trainers was technically feasible and economically viable.
The judge did reduce the fines against SeaWorld, saying SeaWorld did not intentionally act with disregard in the death of Brancheau. Since Brancheau’s death, SeaWorld trainers have not performed in the water with the whales.
Some safety measures that OSHA thinks should be in place include:
A fast-rising bottom that could be activated to beach whales when they are raging
Spare air oxygen systems
We’re sure that SeaWorld is concerned about how these safety measures could financially affect the killer whale shows. So we applaud OSHA as it continues to protect the safety of the American worker.