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SeaWorld Safety Vests Won't Change Legal Fallout

April 29, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando--A state expert in worker's compensation law says new trainer safety vests at SeaWorld probably won't impact legal fallout if future injuries occur.

SeaWorld is starting to mandate use of the vests this week for all trainers working in close proximity with killer whales.  The vests can inflate and have small oxygen tanks.

Attorney Jim McConnaughhay chairs the Florida Workers' Compensation Institute.  He says, when an employee gets hurt on the job, fault is largely irrelevant.  "I think it’s a real feather in SeaWorld’s cap that they’re trying to protect their employees, and it certainly demonstrates their concern," he says.  "Still, the employee could be hurt and still be entitled to worker’s compensation."

The vest requirement comes the same month as a court ruling finding SeaWorld exposed workers to recognized hazards.

Four years ago, an orca killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando.


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