OSHA Issues Alert Letter to Hope Elephants Following Worker's Death

The elephant refuge has been instructed to follow industry safety standards.

An OSHA inspection found that a man who was found dead routinely entered an elephant refuge to work with the animals without the proper protection. As a result, the agency has issued a hazard alert letter to Hope Elephants' board of directors noting the hazards of having individuals enter the elephant enclosure without protection against crushing injuries caused by elephants and recommending that protected contact, consistent with industry standards, be used when employees work with elephants.

James Laurita, co-found, curator and elephant manager of the Hope Elephant Refuge in Hope, Maine, was found dead in the refuge's compound with a crushed chest on Sept. 9, 2014.

According to the OSHA news release, the letter also recommends that Hope Elephants develop and implement a policy as to how it will ensure that elephant care providers are not present in the same unrestricted space as elephants, except in rare circumstances. OSHA noted that the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' standard for elephant management and care stipulates that institutions have adequate infrastructure to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place to increase employees' safety. "The AZA measures compliance with the standard through a determination that elephant care providers do not share the same unrestricted space with elephants, except in certain, well-defined circumstances," according to the release.

"James Laurita's death is a tragic example of what can happen when employers fail to follow industry requirements and to take the necessary steps to protect employees. The care and management of elephants and other wild animals can be a rewarding profession, but not if it comes at the cost of a worker's life," said Maryann Medeiros, OSHA's area director for Maine.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus