SeaWorld has recently been fined $75,000 by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for safety violations related to the tragic death of Dawn Blancheau this past February. Dawn passed away after an accident involving a giant orca . After investigations OSHA has determined that "willful" safety hazards were involved in the accident.
Part of the statement includes, "At the Shamu Stadium pools, animal trainers working with Tilikum, a killer whale with known aggressive tendencies and who was involved in the 1991 death of a whale trainer at a marine park in Vancouver, British Columbia, were exposed to struck-by and drowning hazards in that they were allowed unprotected contact with Tilikum while conducting "drywork"performances on pool ledges, slideouts and platforms, on or about 2/24/2010. At the Shamu Stadium pools, animal trainers working with killer whales other than Tilicum, were exposed to struck-by and drowning hazards in that they were allowed to engage in "waterwork" and "drywork" performances with the killer whales without adequate protection, on or about 2/24/2010."
OSHA determines adequate protection to be, "a physical barrier, or any other engineering solution that gives the trainers the same level of protection as a physical barrier." This could mean that the future of shows that involve whale-to-human interaction could be in jeopardy. Naturally, SeaWorld is trying to fight the rulings in order to save their ability to continue these shows.
The total of $75,000 actually comes from two different fines. The first and more serious fine is a $70,000 fine for the endangerment and death of Dawn. The second fine is a $5,000 fine for not having a stair railing on the "Believe" stage in Shamu Stadium.