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Feds Cite Multiple Safety Violations against Disney

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on February 12, 2010

An article published recently in the Orlando Sentinel reported that Walt Disney World has been cited for multiple workplace safety violations and faces fines up to $44,000 after a July monorail accident. The accident claimed the life of a 21-year-old Disney World employee on July 5 of last year and resulted in the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration citing Disney for one “serious” safety violation. Officials say the accident occurred when a monorail train was moving in reverse during a track switch and backed into another train, killing the driver of the train.

OSHA cited Disney for failing to recognize and address the possible hazards of operating the monorail trains in reverse and failing to follow the operating guide written by Bombardier, Inc., the company that built the trains. OSHA’s monorail investigation also found three other safety violations that were not related to the fatal monorail accident. Some of these violations had been cited by OSHA in previous inspections but had not been addressed by Disney. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels issued a statement shortly after the safety inspection, saying,

“With the monorail, Disney should have put procedures in place that would have prevented the fatal crash from occurring. Employers need to take effective and ongoing corrective action to protect the health and safety of their workers. In the case of the actor’s death, OSHA feels that greater familiarity with the new stage might have changed the outcome.”

The fatal amusement park accident is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board but its investigation isn’t expected until summer 2010. In a statement, OSHA said that Disney had been fined and cited for safety violations because the company “did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”

In its report, OSHA detailed several ways that Disney could remedy the safety violations and prevent them from happening in the future, recommending safety steps outlined in the operator manual provided by Bombardier, Inc. Some of these safety steps included:

• Requiring the train coordinator to be at his console at all times
• Ensuring clear visibility is maintained on monorail windshields
• Providing a way to use the trains without overriding an automated anti-collision system (which must be overridden during track switches);
• Providing written instruction, training and exams for the master operator in the monorail’s maintenance shop

Orlando’s amusement parks attract millions of people every year for fun, adventure and relaxation. Sadly, some amusement park employees and visitors suffer injuries and even death when recommended safety procedures are not implemented and followed. If you or someone you care for has been injured or killed in an amusement park accident, Orlando amusement park accident lawyer James O. Cunningham may be able to recover the compensation you deserve. He offers free consultations and never charges his clients a fee unless he makes a recovery on their behalf. Call Orlando amusement park accident attorney James O. Cunningham today to schedule your free consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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