The recent news of an aquarium employee attacked and killed by an animal in captivity brings up questions of worker safety when the job requires working with potentially dangerous animals. As someone who routinely helps workers injured, bitten and mauled by dogs, horses and other animals, Belmont Ridge and Bradley Farms disability lawyer Doug Landau notes that investigations in Virginia by the State, Local and Federal governments are infrequent and, in the eyes of his disabled clients or grieving families, incomplete. Landau was heartened to see that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") is investigating the death of a SeaWorld Orlando killer whale trainer. An autopsy showed that the veteran sea mammal trainer likely died of multiple traumatic injuries and drowning, according to the Orange County Medical Examiner. How the park handled previous whale attacks will also be a part of the OSHA investigation.
According to news accounts,
this whale had been associated with two prior fatal attacks.
In this latest attack, the orca dragged the trainer to her death underwater in front of horrified spectators. Sea World workers described to the press how the killer whale dragged the aquarium trainer by her hair with his massive jaws and teeth and would not let go.
The frenzy of the fatal attack shocked onlookers and co-workers. Landau asks: "If this animal had been involved in two prior fatalities, what additional safety measures were taken to protect the Sea World employees ? What is being done to make sure that no other SeaWorld employees or visitors lose their lives or are injured in a Killer Whale attack ?"