SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Whale

SeaWorld says it won’t appeal an OSHA fine connected with the death of an animal trainer working with killer whales. This means OSHA’s use of the General Duty Clause (GDC) in this case will stand. The U.S. Supreme Court won’t get to consider it. The agency uses the GDC when there are no specific federal safety regulations that pertain to a workplace hazard. Such was the case with trainers working with killer whales at SeaWorld theme parks. SeaWorld had argued that OSHA’s use of the GDC in the February death of trainer Dawn Brancheau was overly broad. The OSHRC did downgrade the citation from willful to serious and reduced the total fines from $75,000 to $12,000. SeaWorld had been opposing in court. Arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, that using barriers to abate the hazard of contact between the trainers and whales as suggested by OSHA would create additional hazards for its employees. It also argued not allowing trainers in the water with whales during shows would hurt its business. The court upheld the OSHRC decision. The trainers haven’t been back in the water with the whales since the appeals court upheld the OSHRC

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