OSHA violations at Disneyland: It’s a small safety world

| April 22, 2013
photo of space mountain

Not a good place for a safety lapse: the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland in California was cited for worker safety OSHA violations.
(Photo by Loren Javier.)

Safety violations can happen anywhere – even the happiest place on earth.

Despite the Disney empire’s notoriously high standards for customer service, employee satisfaction and overall safety, the iconic Space Mountain ride in Disneyland was closed last Friday after inspectors from the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health cited the park for six safety violations – issuing fines of $234,850.

The inspections, which concluded on April 10, were brought about in November, after a contract employee fell and was injured while cleaning the outside of the enclosed roller coaster.

But the ride’s employee safety violations aren’t specific to roller coasters, or even theme parks. With that in mind, let’s look at Mickey’s mishaps as a reminder of a few safety requirements that apply to a range of industries:


hvac filter replacement tag

Maintenance tags such as this are required on HVAC equipment.

Violation: “Failure to ensure the written inspection and maintenance records for the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system on the Space Mountain attraction building were retained for at least five years.”

Requirement: Inspections and maintenance of the HVAC system must be documented in writing, and include the name of the individual conducting the inspection or maintenance, along with the date and any specific findings or actions taken.


Violation: “Failure to ensure portable fire extinguishers in service had a current annual maintenance inspection check.” One extinguisher on the exterior dome of Space Mountain was last checked in 2006, according to the records, while another did not have an annual maintenance and inspection tag.

Requirement: Portable fire extinguishers must be checked every year, and the date must be recorded on a tag and kept for one year, or the life of the shell (whichever is less).

fire extinguisher sign

Employers must identify the location of fire extinguishers. (Photo via MySafetySign.com.)

Violation: “Failure to provide portable fire extinguishers so that they are readily accessible to employees without subjecting them to possible injury.” One extinguisher was found inside the fire hose cabinet and another was found inside a metal container that housed abandoned electronic equipment on the roof of the Space Mountain building.

Requirement: Portable fire extinguishers must be mounted, located and identified so that employees can quickly and safely access them when needed.


Violation: “Failure to provide guardrails on unenclosed elevated work locations more than 30 inches above the floor of a building (Space Mountain).

Requirement: Guardrails must be installed on all open sides of unenclosed elevated work locations.


Violation: “Failure to provide either a swinging gate or equivalent protection on an exterior platform of a building accessed by ladderway.”

Requirements: Every ladderway floor opening or platform with access provided by a ladderway must be protected by guardrails with toeboards. Platforms must be offset, having a swinging gate or other measures to prevent a person from walking directly into the opening.


photo of window cleaners

Regardless of the building, window cleaners must be provided with the appropriate protective equipment and tools. (Photo by Tucasalimpia.)

Violation: “Failure to provide independent anchorages for support line(s) and safety line(s) when cleaning the exterior of Space Mountain, using boatswain’s chairs and controlled descent apparatus (CDA). A worker was injured when his unapproved anchorage came loose.

Requirement: Roof tie-backs or other approved independent anchorages must be provided for each support and safety line.

Category: News, OSHA

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