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  1. #1

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    WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    WMFE Public Broadcasting Stations : OSHA Cites Disney in Monorail Accident

    Following it's investigation of the July 5th (2009) monorail accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that it is fininig WDW $44,000. OSHA claims the safety violations were contributing factors to one monorail train backing into another. This resulted in the tragic death of 21 year old CM pilot, Austin Wuennenberg of Kissimmee.

    When this accident was first discussed here on MiceChat during this past summer, it was revealed that Austin was professeional where operations and safety are concerned. Yet, the young man was popuar with guests.. going all out to ensure that everyone that he interacted with left happy as a result of his friendliness and wealth of interesting information pertaing to Disney.

    If Disney feels OSHA's judgement is unfounded, I would hope that it will challenge the ruling. Afterall, the occupational safety bureau has a history of being over-zealous in it's inspections, investigations and determinations. Then again, Disney deserves to pay the fine (plus any subsequent lawsuits) should substantial and irrefutable facts be released supporting the decision. This would add to the tragic heartbreak that Austin's family and friends have already suffered.. not to mention a black eye to WDW, as it would also be hurt from the negative publicity.

    Disney has twevle (12) days left (from today, Dec. 27th) to decide whether to "comply with recommendations or to contest the citations".
    Last edited by Ride Warrior; 12-28-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    I'd make the safety improvements and not drag this out.
    That's worse. The only thing worse than past bad publicity is some more fresh bad press.

  3. #3

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
    I'd make the safety improvements and not drag this out.
    That's worse. The only thing worse than past bad publicity is some more fresh bad press.
    Valid point, CA. Maybe this will be a wake up call to WDW management that they need to spend some extra money on safety and maintainance.. even if OSHA's judgement is incorrect and unfair. On the other hand, the government organization should not be left with the impresion that Disney is always going to cave.
    Last edited by Ride Warrior; 12-28-2009 at 10:35 AM.
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  4. #4

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    To be honest, I think the fine should be higher and I think the family should also go after Disney. Heres why: Disney screwed up and they need to learn. I love Disney but if they screw up on something that was so simple to avoid then they need to be shocked so much that they make sure this doesn't happen again.
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  5. #5

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    The fines are minor - which says the findings are probably minor as well. The only one I can find so far is that they say Disney didn't follow the Operating Manual's recommendation of using a spotter in the rear when going in reverse.. which Disney says it had equivalents for.

    Disney has already instituted that policy of using spotters anyways - so I doubt there is much to contest.

    Disney is going to get sued and settle regardless of the OSHA findings.
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  6. #6

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    agreed if OSHA's fine was only this drop in the bucket(really it pretty much amounts to a slap on the wrist) Disney more than likely will not contest it due to the higher amount of fines possible for the other accidents that resulted in employee deaths this past summer...

    Even if they were only minor infractions OSHA may feel salty about the response(depending on if they challenge it) that they go after Disney for much more than this in the future..
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  7. #7

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    $44,000 is chump change to WDW.

  8. #8

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    and as you can see... not much for Disney to protest. The OSHA PR here...

    US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Walt Disney World following monorail collision and issues recommendation letter following actor’s death

    ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Walt Disney World for safety violations following the fatality of a monorail driver in July and issued a recommendation letter concerning the death of an actor during a stage production at the theme park in August.

    In early July, one worker was killed when two monorail trains collided while switching tracks. One was holding while another was being removed from the loop and transferred to the express loop where it would travel to the maintenance shop. The command was given for the switching operation to move one train to the express loop, but switch beams eight and nine were not locked into position or energized. When one train traveled in reverse it remained on the loop and struck the other train, fatally injuring the operator.

    Walt Disney World is being cited with a serious violation for not providing a place of employment free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious harm by exposing employees to struck-by collision hazards.

    During the monorail investigation, inspectors observed three violations unrelated to the fatality. Two repeat violations are being cited for exposing employees to fall hazards without fall protection and not providing educational training for monorail employees in the use of a portable fire extinguisher. A serious violation was found as well in which a drill press did not have a guard installed.

    Additionally, on Aug. 8, an actor was fatally injured from injuries sustained during the Pirates of the Caribbean tutorial stage show when he hit a concrete wall on a new stage, which had opened in July. While no OSHA violations are being proposed for the incident, the agency is recommending that employees rehearse on new stages before their first live performance.

    “With the monorail, Disney should have put procedures in place that would have prevented the fatal crash from occurring,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “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.”

    OSHA has proposed a total of $44,000 in penalties against the company for the monorail incident, including a penalty of $7,000 for the serious violation related to the fatality, the maximum amount allowed for a serious citation.

    The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal meeting with OSHA’s area director or indicate that it plans to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA’s Tampa Area Office, 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A; telephone 813-626-1177.

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA’s role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit Occupational Safety and Health Administration - OSHA HOME PAGE.
    There is a more detailed write-up in mouseplanet's weekly WDW update.
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  9. #9

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    and as you can see... not much for Disney to protest. The OSHA PR here...



    There is a more detailed write-up in mouseplanet's weekly WDW update.
    Thank you flynn, for finding and posting this document. Disney has hopefully already put new procedures in place for detecting when track switching fails and sending out warning signals. Also, I would hope that a system is or will be installed that causes a monorail(s) to automatically stop when it comes to close to another. Seems like the CM cannot help but be located in the front of the train, where they are subject to fatality upon collision.
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  10. #10

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    There is an argument that central control are "spotters" in that they should be watching to control the system. but by instigating on the gorund/train spotters, they are see to be contrite and complying.
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  11. #11

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    A spotter is one that can see the situation. Central can not see except where the cameras are. Central would not be able to be the spotter for a train moving backwards anywhere in the system.
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  12. #12

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    Lets remember that before the accident they thought what was in place was perfectly acceptable... and whilst the central control was properly manned by trained staff, not being ignored by a manager covering, it had served well for years. The train didn't crash anywhere in the system...they don't reverse trains anywhere in the system, only at specific points, where I guess there are cameras. I'm guessing there is a camera that could have spotted a problem ....if only someone was watching it...which is one of the other points they were pulled for and have corrected. Like I say there is an argument, that could be made, but I think the right political decision is to not try and make it.
    From what i've seen it wasn't a flaw in the existing procedure, but a flaw in not following it correctly. 2 Very different things. By changing the procedure slightly you can be seen to learn, and improve, rather than be at fault for cutting corners where you should simply be applying the correct operational standards.
    Last edited by Thorpeedo; 12-29-2009 at 03:36 PM. Reason: finishing off !
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  13. #13

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    Re: WDW Cited By OSHA In Monorail Accident. Disney Must Decide Whether To Contest.

    Cameras watching platforms are different then cameras watching beams. They'll use the people on the platforms for spotters. This will also likely cause a lot of changes for how the trains are operated near the switches and shop.

    As for their correct operational standards - those standards called for central to be allowed to be away from the console and not requiring monitoring from shop either. So there is more to the story then just failing to follow their procedures - the procedures themselves were lax vs fail-safe.
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