Project title: Occupational Hazards of Aquarium Workers
Completed in: 2017 | Faculty advisor: Peter Rabinowitz
We examined the potential occupational hazards related to animal-care aquarium workers at the Seattle Aquarium. These workers are severely under-researched and face unique challenges in working with unpredictable, sometimes large animals in wet, slippery environments. We learned there are a broad range of potential hazards, including: physical, chemical, biological, and mental, as well as other potential hazards. These hazards were identified through a literature review, task observations, and staff interviews with those that work directly with animals (including but not limited to: fish, marine mammals, and invertebrates) at the Seattle Aquarium. This information was compiled into a survey and pre-tested with several aquarium employees. The survey will be piloted to experts in the field and then converted into an online format to be distributed to animal-care aquarium workers throughout the United States of America. This practicum did not include the distribution or analysis of the survey responses, but we hope that the results will be used by aquariums to improve the occupational health and safety of their workers and the animals they work with.