SeaWorld has taken several blows since the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau on February 24, 2010. After an attempt to appeal harsh OSHA citations which they were unable to stop, SeaWorld was met with a critical ruling made by Judge Welsch in favor of OSHA. The verdict required the company to update their safety protocols and install physical barriers so that trainers would be better protected when working with the killer whales. SeaWorld now faces their third consecutive defeat as their appeal of Judge Welsch’s verdict is shot down by OSHA Commissioners.
The options left for SeaWorld are dwindling, but they may be ready to pull out all the stops which could lead to more appeals perhaps even reaching the Supreme Court. It is clear that they are not yet ready to give up their iconic waterwork stunts in favor of greater employee safety. As of right now, Judge Welsch’s verdict stands and time is running out for SeaWorld to put their abatements in place for OSHA to accept and certify.