Success: SeaWorld Trainers Protected from Orca Attacks


Target: OSHA Chairman Thomasina V. Rogers

Goal: Thank OSHA for upholding the safety violations and federal mandates given to SeaWorld

After the tragic death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau documented in the film “Blackfish,” SeaWorld was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHA). They discovered that two other trainers had been killed by the same orca and that SeaWorld had covered up these tragic deaths. OSHA decided that SeaWorld had willfully violated federal safety laws requiring a workplace to be relatively free of danger. A previous ForceChange petition called for SeaWorld to take its trainers out of the water during live shows to protect them from orca attacks. OSHA has imposed new safety mandates that will force SeaWorld to do just that.

SeaWorld then sued the Department of Labor in an attempt to appeal OSHA’s mandates. SeaWorld claimed that the Department of Labor had gone too far in restricting and changing the content of the marine park’s main attraction. SeaWorld’s violation was reduced but the safety measures remained unaltered. The judge maintained that killer whales’ behavior is often unpredictable, even to well-trained marine animal workers. Killer whales at SeaWorld have been know to try to harm trainers during their shows by holding them underwater, pushing them, and holding them in their mouths. SeaWorld did not give up and appealed this ruling. However, after their stocks dropped dramatically, they reported much lower ticket sales, and OSHA did not seem willing to budge on the ruling, SeaWorld decided to drop the appeal and abide by the safety measures.

OSHA should be applauded for remaining firm about the safety mandates it had issued to SeaWorld. Trainers should not be allowed in the water with orcas during shows as evidenced by the three deaths that they have caused so far. It is bad enough that the killer whales are kept in captivity that humans’ lives should not be threatened as well. Thank OSHA for issuing these safety measures and not backing down when SeaWorld appealed them.


Dear Chairman Rogers,

After the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, the marine park was involved in legal scandals regarding the safety of its trainers. You, as the chairman for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, investigated the park and issued federal safety violations to SeaWorld. This action is to be commended.

Though SeaWorld unsuccessful attempted to overturn the safety measures that you issued on multiple occasions, you refused to back down. Trainers deserve to be safe. They should not be in the water with orcas during shows as evidenced by the three tragic deaths that have already occurred as a result of this. Thank you for standing firm on this important issue and forcing SeaWorld to treat its trainers better.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Loadmaster via Wikimedia Commons

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