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Disney Fined for Pluto Worker’s Death

August 12, 2004

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Walt Disney Entertainment has been fined $6,300 for the death of a worker dressed as Pluto who was run over and killed by a float as it entered a Magic Kingdom parade, officials said Wednesday.

The right foot of Javier Cruz, 38, became caught between the second and third sections of a three-part float as it was about to enter the parade route from a backstage area for the afternoon ``Share a Dream Come True″ parade last February. He fell and was run over by the third section of the vehicle.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration categorized the citation ``serious″ because employees were exposed to the hazard of being struck by motorized vehicles, according to OSHA. The maximum penalty for such a citation is $7,000, although the agency issues citations as high as $70,000 for repeat violators or if the violation was considered willful.

Disney has 15 days to contest the citation or request a hearing before an administrative judge, and must show that it made changes to prevent a similar accident, said Les Grove, OSHA’s area director in Tampa.

Among measures that would meet that criterion would be creating barriers to stop people from walking between the sections of a float, Grove said.

In a statement, Disney spokeswoman Veronica Clemons said officials at the theme park resort planned to review safety measures with OSHA officials.

``The safety and security of our guests and cast members is a top priority,″ the statement said. ``We continue to keep Javier Cruz’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.″

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