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SeaWorld Appeal of Judge Welsch OSHA Verdict

SeaWorld Appeal of Judge Welsch OSHA Verdict

Ratings: (0)|Views: 43,058 |Likes:
SeaWorld's July 2012 Appeal of OSHA and OSHRC verdict handed down by Judge Ken Welsh in May 2012
SeaWorld's July 2012 Appeal of OSHA and OSHRC verdict handed down by Judge Ken Welsh in May 2012

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Published by: The Orca Project Corp on Jul 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/03/2014

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ORIGINAL
UNITEDSTATESOFAMERICAOCCUPATIONALSAFETYANDHEALTHREVIEWCOMMISSIONComplainant,
)))))))))))
OSHRCDOCKETNO.10-1705SECRETARYOFLABOR,
v.
Citation314336850SEAWORLDofFLORIDA,LLCRespondent.RESPONDENT'SPEITIONFORDISCRETIONARYREVIEWI.INTRODUCTION
AnOSHAinspectionintothedeathofDawnBrancheaucommencedattheworksiteofRespondent,SeaWorldofFloridaLLC(hereinafter"Respondent"or"SeaWorld")onFebruary24,2010.Asaresultofsaidinspection,ComplainantissuedRespondentthreecitations,whichRespondenttimelycontested.ThematterwassetforhearingbeforetheHonorableKenS.WelschbeginningonSeptember19,2011.Afterninedaysoftrialtestimony,thepartieswereaffordedtheopportunitytosubmitbriefsbyFebruary17,2012,thisdatebeingextendedbyJudgeWelschuntilMarch2,2012.JudgeWelschissuedaDecisionandOrderonJune11,2012,affirmingCitation1,Item1,anallegedviolationof29C.F.R.
§
19IO.23(d)(I)asaseriousviolationandaffirmingCitation2,Item1,anallegedviolationofSection5(a)(I)oftheOccupationalSafetyandHealthAct("OSHAAct")asaseriousviolation.Atotalpenaltyof$I2,000wasassessed.
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PursuanttoRule91(b)oftheReviewCommissionRulesofProcedure,RespondentSeaWorldpetitionstheReviewCommissionfordiscretionaryreviewoftheAdministrativeLawJudge'sDecisionwithrespecttoCitation1,Item1andCitation2,Item1.
II.POINTSFORDISCRETIONARYREVIEW
SeaWorldrespectfullysubmitsthattheAdministrativeLawJudge'sDecisionshouldbedirectedforreviewonthefollowingissues:1)TheJudge'sultimateconclusionthatCitation2,Item1,waslimitedto"showperformances"isillogicalanderroneous.Inessence,theJudgeconcludedthathavingclosecontactwithkillerwhalesisarecognizedhazard,butonlyifthatcontactoccursduringtheperformanceofashow.a)Insodoing,JudgeWelschbifurcatedtheallegedhazard,whichRespondentdeniesexisted,basedonthesurroundingcircumstancesunderwhichtheactivitieswiththekillerwhaleswerebeingdone.(Judge'sDecisionpg.45)Neverbeforehasahazardbeenidentifiedassuchinonesettingandthendeterminedtobeanacceptableactivityinadifferent
setting'.
b)ThisrulingfailstoconsidertheunrefutedtestimonyfromSeaWorld'sanimalcareprofessionalsthatthereisnodifferencebetweenshowinteractionscomparedtodifferenttypesofinteractionswithkillerwhales.TheJudgemisappliedthelawandcreatedasituationwhereSection5(a)
(1)
oftheActisvagueasappliedtothefactsinviolationoftheDueProcessClauseoftheFifthAmendmenttotheUnitedStatesConstitution.
1
ThepresumedrationaleforthissplitistheSecretarypresentednoevidenceoffeasibleabatementforworkingcloselywiththekillerwhalesoutsideofshowperformances
-2-
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c)Moreover,theJudge'sfindingthattheincidentgivingrisetoCitation2,Item1,occurredduringthe"performance"ofashowisnotsupportedbyapreponderanceoftheevidence.TheJudgebasedhisdecisioninpartonExhibitC-4whichwasavideotakenbyaguestattendingtheDinewithShamu"show.(Judge'sdecisionpg.16).Thedecisionstates,"[f]orthesakeoftheBrancheaufamily'sprivacyinterests,thevideowaseditedtoendimmediatelybeforeTilikumgrabbedMs.Brancheau".Id.Thissuggeststhattheincidentitselfwassomehowcapturedonthisvideobutthereisabsolutelynoevidenceofthatandinfactthatwasnotthecase.ItwasimproperfortheJudgetodrawthisinferenceintheabsenceofanytestimonytosupportit.2)TheJudgedisregardedevidencethatSeaWorld'skillerwhaletrainingprogrammettheindustrystandardofcare.a)Inhisdecision,JudgeWelschfailedtoconsiderwhethertheAmericanZoologicalAssociation("AZA")guidelinesforworkingwithkillerwhaleswastheindustrystandardforsafelyinteractingwithkillerwhales.HisdecisiondoesnotaddresstheAZAstandardsatallalthoughtheywerepresentedasExhibitR-S.b)JudgeWelscherroneouslydisregardedtheimpactofSeaWorld'scompliancewithAZA'sindustryguidelinesapplicabletoworkingwithkillerwhalesandAZA'srecognitionofSeaWorld'skillerwhaletrainingprogramasaccredited.c)JudgeWelshfailedtoproperlyconsidertestimonyfromSeaWorld'sexpertwitness,JeffAndrews,theonlyexpertofferedwithactualexperiencetraining-3-
1906814.11937753.1

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