Fines levied after fatal work accident at a wild cat sanctuary

| May 16, 2014 | Workers' Compensation |

The WildCat Haven Sanctuary in Oregon is facing public scrutiny and fines after a fatal work accident at its facility. The facility is facing fines and penalties from the incident, but it is appealing these measures. In fact, the wildcat sanctuary is meeting with the Oregon branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to discuss appealing the work accident and its liability in the incident.

The accident happened when one of the experienced and main wildcat keepers was attempting to clean out a cage. Although she had tried to lock out the cats before she cleaned the area, at least one was able to break into the area of the enclosure where she was. She was attacked and died from the extent of her injuries.

At this point, the fines that the WildCat Haven Sanctuary faces include $2,800 for an unsafe enclosure design and an additional $2,800 for safety protocol violations. The cat sanctuary is not open to the public but was founded in 2001 by two private citizens. While it is listed as a non-profit organization, it is not clear if the wildcat facility is funded through private funds, donations or sponsors. If the Oregon facility’s appeal fails, it would be responsible for the fines and any upgrades needed to make the facility safe.

When an employee is injured in a work accident, it is likely that workers’ compensation will be granted to the victim or the victim’s family. The family of the deceased could be granted funds to cover end-of-life expenses and lost income. While employers are generally required to provide workers’ compensation benefits, a case evaluation could reveal what should be expected according to the individual details of the case.

Source: oregonlive.com, “WildCat Haven Sanctuary to dispute penalties related to fatal cougar attack investigation“, Everton Bailey, Jr., May 9, 2014

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