Walt Disney World is the place where dreams come true, but Disney World is also the place where thousands of people go to work every day, and millions more visit every single year for vacation. When you have that many moving parts, accidents will happen. Most of the time, they’re minor and no big deal. Disney World has experience putting out small fires, both literally and figuratively. Sometimes Disney World will get hit with lawsuits. But in a recent case Disney World saw a significant fine after a Cast Member got seriously injured in a pretty terrible circumstance.
The accident took place last October but details are only now emerging thanks to a records request from Florida Politics. It has resulted in Walt Disney World receiving a $12,431 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which may not be a great deal of money from Disney’s perspective, but is still a significant fine, especially since the workplace accident resulted in one Disney World employee ending up with two broken arms.
This all happened at a Disney World laundry facility when a conveyor belt malfunctioned due to being jammed by bundles of laundry. The employees needed to realign the belt after clearing the jam, which they did manually. Since the rollers were over seven feet tall, one Cast Member stood on top of a tool cabinet to help with the realignment but the system was still powered up, so once the belt was realigned and everything started moving again his “arms were pulled between the tension roller and the belt all the way up to his elbows.”
OSHA’s investigations found a number of violations, including the fact that the conveyor system was still powered on while the realignment was taking place, and that the employees used their hands, rather than tools, to perform the realignment. More significant to Disney World the organization, OSHA found that tension roller guards had been missing for some time, and that the resort had no official procedure for clearing jams. New tension roller guards have since been fabricated and installed.
OSHA’s initial fine was reportedly over $22,000 but OSHA and Disney made some sort of agreement that lowered the fine to the number just north of $12,000. The report that was completed after the case was closed last month is partially redacted so the name of the injured person, or their current condition is unknown.
We rarely see any accident this severe on property for Cast Members or guests. Contrary to popular belief, there have been deaths at Disney World, but they are almost exclusively natural deaths, that just happen to take place on property.
While healing from a pair of broken arms is certainly significant, one hopes the injured party will be ok, once the bones heal. This was certainly a wild accident, though it appears that steps have been taken to be sure it does not happen again. Everybody wants Walt Disney World to be a safe place to have fun, even the Cast Members.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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