IR #2007-09
March 2, 2007

Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050

Cal/OSHA Revisits its Reports on Sea World Investigation

San Diego - On February 27, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) concluded its investigation into the November accident at Sea World in San Diego. As a result, Sea World was issued a citation alleging two non-serious violations of occupational safety and health standards and an "information memorandum." In issuing the "information memorandum," Cal/OSHA violated its own policies and procedures. This error is being addressed and Cal/OSHA regrets the difficulties it may have caused Sea World, its staff, and its patrons. 

Cal/OSHA realized its error when it met with Sea World officials yesterday to discuss these reports. As a result, Cal/OSHA will take corrective action, including withdrawing the "Information Memorandum" in accordance with its policies and procedures. According to written Cal/OSHA policy and procedure, an "Information Memorandum" is issued to advise employers when conditions that violate occupational safety and health standards are found, but there is no evidence that employees have been exposed to those conditions; it alerts employers so that action can be taken to eliminate those conditions or to ensure that no employee is exposed to them. In the case of Sea World, the "Information Memorandum" addressed conditions that were fully in compliance with existing regulations; therefore, there was no basis for it. 

Additionally, Cal/OSHA will thoroughly review the "Narrative Summary," an 18-page supplemental report in the file, and will make any necessary revisions to conform with Cal/OSHA policies and procedures. Cal/OSHA acknowledges that many of the statements made in the "Narrative Summary" require expertise in animal behavior, which Cal/OSHA does not have. Also, some of the expressions of opinion and other statements contained in the report stray from describing the evidence and are clearly inappropriate.

Finally, at least three of the recommendations found in the "Information Memorandum" reflect actions Sea World has already implemented or has taken under consideration. Accordingly, the company's actions are fully consistent with the type of procedural review requested by this document.