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Disneyland forced to close attractions by OSHA

Update: Sunday 4/14/13 12pm PT Just spoke with our contact at Disneyland and have a new story with important updates to the below post:

Update: Sunday 4/14/13 9am PT– Disneyland opened today with the Matterhorn Bobsleds running. Space Mountain and Soarin’ over California remain closed, according to Disney PR. Yesterday’s Matterhorn closure may have been unrelated to CAL/OSHA inspection. I’m hearing more inspections could happen over the next few days. Still awaiting official statement from Disneyland PR.

Space Mountain

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) delivered seven safety violation citations to the Disneyland resort yesterday for Space Mountain. For some reason (update: the closures were made voluntarily by Disneyland after an internal safety review), this has resulted in three major attractions to be closed at the Disneyland Resort today. Those attractions are Space Mountain, The Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Soarin’ Over California. It’s not yet clear if the Matterhorn and Soarin’ are related to the same CAL/OSHA filing. I’ve asked Disneyland for clarification.

The citations were related a 2006 agreement to make improvements and to inspections following recent accidents such as the man who was seriously injured while cleaning the outside of Space Mountain in November 2012. The findings include simple failures like not having a charged fire extinguisher and more serious ones like failure to protect employees from unsafe ladders or lack of railings preventing a fall hazard. Serious fines of up to $70,000 for each infraction could be levied if Disneyland does not comply immediately with the requests (although appeal is also an option). Total penalties for just the Space Mountain citations could reach over $230,000.

These are the same sort of hazards that forced Disneyland to close Alice in Wonderland until temporary scaffolding could be erected with guardrails. The park still hasn’t made permanent fixes there.

There were a lot of violations listed in the citation, here are a few of those listed as Willful Serious:

“Disneyland Resort failed to correct the unsafe work practice of employees of both Disneyland Resort and HSG Inc. accessing upper exterior platform of a building (Space Mountain) to change lights, and perform other maintenance tasks without the protection of guardrails or personal fall protection”

“During the course of the inspection and prior, the employer, Disneyland Resort, failed to provide guardrails on all open sides of unenclosed elevated work locations more than 30 inches above the floor, ground, or other working areas of a building (Space Mountain) at Disneyland Resort. Employees of Disneyland Resort and HSG, Inc accessed the upper exterior platform of Space Mountain to perform routine and also non-routine maintenance and were not protected by guardrails or any other type of fall protection.”

I have asked Disneyland for a statement and will follow up on this post if and when I get a reply (statement included in this post updating the story). Hopefully this does not result in another situation like Alice where we have to deal with a long closure or bad show until a more permanent fix can be found.

In the meantime with Big Thunder also down (for rehab) this makes four of the resort’s biggest attractions down on a busy weekend. I’m sure it’s pretty miserable for guests and cast members. If you go to the parks, be sure to be nice to front line cast members who are just doing their job . They deserve it as this is a situation that is out of their control.

Update: Still piecing together the story. It sounds like CAL/OSHA inspectors (this was incorrect, the inspectors were Disneyland’s own safety review) were on-site this morning and found violations at a number of attractions. Some were closed temporarily until a fix could be made. Others with bigger problems remain closed. Add to that a fire on a sub at Finding Nemo closing that ride and you have a very diminished Disneyland today.

Just to be clear, CAL/OSHA is concerned with employee safety. It doesn’t sound like guests were in danger here except as to when they would enter employee areas during an evacuation.

Update to this story posted on Sunday 12pm PT..

(Thanks to Behind The Thrills for the lead)