Disneyland deserved to be fined by Cal/OSHA

Space Mountain 2013

“A California agency issued its largest fine against Disney in at least 10 years when finding that the company “willfully violated” safety regulations related to a contractor’s injury on Space Mountain, state records show,” according to the O.C. Register.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is proposing a $234,850 penalty against the Disneyland Resort, according to a report issued Friday. That’s the highest penalty that the Disneyland Resort has faced since at least 2003 from the division.

I worked at Disneyland’s Safety Department and know firsthand that many of their attractions have had fall protection issues for years.  These are often old attractions that were not built to our current safety standards.  The resort has tried to fix some of this but they have missed a lot of it and have been fined before – but I believe this is their first wilfull violation.

I know for a fact that they still have major fall protection issues at their Small World attraction. It is a miracle that the State of California’s OSHA department has not closed down that attraction as well.

Disneyland should have done the right thing and shut down these attractions themselves.  They knew there were hazards and yet they allowed their cast members to work in dangerous situations.  That is why they were fined.

This all came to light because of the accident on Space Mountain a few months ago when a contractor who was cleaning the roof fell and broke several bones.  Cal/OSHA investigators found that “knew in August 2006 about problems with fall hazards, but the company failed to fix the problems on the outside of Space Mountain. Disney also failed to have the proper anchors, according to the division’s report.”

I worked at Disneyland in 2011.  At the time our Safety Training director had just finished putting together his fall protection program.  That training director came to the safety department from the parking lot department and had previously worked at the Honda Center’s parking structure.  I thought he was wholly unqualified to be developing safety curriculum.

Disneyland has a lot of safety professionals onsite including a director who came from an equipment rental company and at least one former Cal/OSHA inspector.  I probably had the most construction experience in my department and at the time I still had a current OSHA Construction Outreach Instructor card.

While Disneyland makes a big deal about safety the reality is that the Disneyland engineers and their entertainment people quite often derail what the safety department tries to do.  I fount it very frustrating to try to work with them.

I am not at all surprised that Disneyland has been fined.  They had it coming.

Click here to read about Disneyland’s past OSHA violations and citations.

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