MIAMI – 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. Trainers worked with a killer whale from the side of a pool without using physical barriers, OSHA said in the citation.
OSHA has required physical barriers between trainers and killer whales, or that trainers maintain a safe distance from the orcas, since an administrative judge made a ruling in a 2012 SeaWorld case.
In 2010, SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed when a six-ton killer whale, Tilikum, grabbed her and pulled into the water.
In a written statement, the Miami Seaquarium said it would appeal the citation, and that no trainer had been injured by its orca, Lolita.
“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,” the statement said. “That said, we feel wrongly targeted, given our extraordinary track record of keeping our employees safe.”