Miami Seaquarium Fined by OSHA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne.

    The Miami Seaquarium has been issued a $7,000 fine for allowing trainers to work with a killer whale without sufficient protections.
     
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citation earlier this month.
     
    The citation is considered "serious" by the federal agency. OSHA says trainers worked with a killer whale in a pool and from the side of a pool without using physical barriers.
     
    OSHA has required physical barriers between trainers and killer whales, or that trainer maintain a safe distance from the orcas, since an administrative judge ruled in a SeaWorld case.
     
    The SeaWorld case stemmed from the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed when the six-ton killer whale, Tilikum, grabbed her and pulled into the water. 
     
    On Thursday afternoon, Miami Seaquarium issued a statement saying, they are cooperating with the investigation.

    "This investigation was sparked not by an employee complaint, nor by any safety incident, but rather by a complaint from an animal rights activists group who have other priorities and objectives besides employee safety," the statement said.

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    The statement further said that in nearly 44 years working with the Seaquarium's Orca, Lolita, no trainer has suffered an injury.

    "We respect OSHA and their attention to employee safety, including the cooperative nature of their investigation and their genuine interest in learning about our operations.  That said, we feel wrongly targeted, given our extraordinary track record of keeping our employees safe," the statement said.

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    The Seaqurium says it will be "business as usual" at the park and no changes to the show will be made, as they work through the appeals process regarding the allegations.

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