Texas Schlitterbahn cited for death of lifeguard in wave generator
A federal safety agency has cited Enterprize Management Inc. and Schlitterbahn
Beach Resort Management LLC for six safety violations that led to the
death of a lifeguard and severe injuries to a maintenance worker this
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
also levied fines of $96,000 against the two entities, doing business
as Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark and Resort in South Padre Island.
The violations were issued for failing to protect workers from hazardous energy sources, according to press release from the U.S. Department of Labor.
OSHA launched its probe in March after the 20-year-old lifeguard and
maintenance supervisor entered a wave generation machine, which
inadvertently activated and caused them to be pinned between the gate
and the wall of the wave machine.
"By failing to properly train its workers and provide appropriate
lock-out and tag-out procedures for hazardous energy sources,
Schlitterbahn tragically exposed its workers to unnecessary risks," Michael Rivera, OSHA's Corpus Christi area director, stated in a press release.
"OSHA will not tolerate such neglect. It is the employer's
responsibility to find and fix workplace violations in an effort to
safeguard the health and safety of its workers," Rivera stated.
Enterprize and Schlitterbahn were cited for "failing to develop,
document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy
for equipment such as, but not limited to, the wave generation machine."
OSHA found that the entities failed to provide standard railings on
the open sides of all exposed stairways and stair platforms; failed to
conduct inspections of the energy control procedures; did not train
workers to recognize hazardous energy sources and procedures; and failed
to guard water pumps with rotating shafts and firmly secure an
electrical junction box to the wall.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which
the employer knew or should have known, the press release states.
The willful penalty totaled $70,000, while the serious penalties totaled $26,000.
Schlitterbahn has 15 business days to comply, request an informal
conference with OSHA's Corpus Christi area director, or contest the
findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information or to file a complaint, call OSHA's toll-free
hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or the agency's Corpus Christi office at