Disneyland & Theme Park Workers Comp Injuries
California and Florida are the two largest amusement park employers in the industry. Those two states account for more than half of the country’s theme park employment in the summer, and almost half during the off-season.
The Walt Disney Company is not only the large amusement park employer in Orange County, but it is also the largest employer in any industry in Orange County. Prior to the pandemic, Disney employed more than 32,000 workers at two theme parks, three hotels, and Downtown Disney.
Theme Park Workers Comp Injuries
Amusement park employees often face long hours, difficult working conditions, and hazards found in no other line of work. In fact, theme park workers have much higher injury, illness, and fatality rates than many other industries. Ride operation can be particularly dangerous due to mechanical hazards, lockout/tagout, safe ride operation, and hazard recognition and reporting.
Theme park workers have suffered serious injuries and even fatalities from being struck by, run over, and/or dragged by ride carriages, cars, and safety arms. Workers who have tried to board moving rides have also suffered injuries and fatalities.
Operating heavy machinery, wearing full body costumes in hot temperatures, and performing stunts during live shows, among other things, also make work-related injuries at Disneyland foreseeable.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also been particularly hard for Disneyland and other theme park workers. Many employees were called back or hired when Disneyland re-opened on April 30, 2021. But the majority of workers were still fully vaccinated at that time, while still being exposed directly to thousands of members of the public.
A History of Disneyland Workers Comp Injuries
Disneyland has had several publicly disclosed, serious work-related accidents and deaths in its 65-year history. And countless other injuries suffered by Disney and other theme park workers are never reported to the public.
As far back as July of 1974, an employee slipped between a revolving wall and a stationary platform inside the America Sings attraction during the ride’s intermission, and sadly died.
In December 1998 it was reported that a large piece of metal connected to the hull of the Sailing Ship Columbia loosened and struck an employee while the ship approached the dock. As a result, Disney replaced the old-fashioned hemp roping with a stronger nylon rope that would safely break rather than snap dangerously.
Another fatal accident occurred at the Disneyland theme park in April 2003, when a stage technician fell 60 feet from a catwalk in the Hyperion Theater. Cal/OSHA fined the Walt Disney Company for safety violations after an investigation.
Another serious accident occurred when a worker fell in Space Mountain in 2012 and broke several bones Cal/OSHA fined Disney for safety violations and Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Soarin’ Over California were all closed down pending review of employee’s safety protocols.
As recently as August 2019 another Disney worker fatality occurred when a steel plate fell on a construction worker who was working in a trench.
Disneyland & Theme Park Workers Comp
Like any other employer in Orange County or California, when an employee is injured, killed, or gets sick while working at Disneyland or another theme park, they are entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
Theme park workers, including Disneyland employees, who are injured or made ill at work, are entitled to:
- Total medical care
- Temporary income payments while unable to work
- Permanent disability payments if the injury totally prevents returning to work
- Death benefit payments to a spouse, children or other dependents
Remember, it does not matter who was at fault to qualify for workers compensation benefits – including at theme parks such as Disneyland. Even if a theme park worker made a mistake or was negligent while operating a ride or machinery they are still entitled to workers compensation. And disability due to COVID contracted while working at Disneyland is also covered under California workers comp law. LEARN MORE ABOUT WORKERS COMP FOR COVID-19 HERE.
Workers’ Comp Attorney for Theme Park Workers & Disneyland Employees
The Orange County workers comp attorneys at Cantrell Green have help many Disneyland and other theme park employees collect the maximum workers comp benefits for which they qualify.
Remember, The Walt Disney Company is a wealthy company with huge insurance companies and aggressive lawyers of their own. Before you agree to any workers comp settlement for a work-related injury at Disneyland or another theme park, make sure you are protected by representation from an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation attorney.