Cal-OSHA Says Disney Failed to Properly Clean Cooling Towers Linked to Legionnaires’ Outbreaks; Park Fined $33K

Crowds walk down Main Street in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim in June 2017. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Crowds walk down Main Street in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim in June 2017. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In what became one of the nation’s biggest Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, 22 people fell sick with the dangerous lung infection last fall in Orange County, including one who died.

Local health officials said the outbreak seemed connected to Disneyland, as 19 of the 22 people who were infected had visited the park. But they never pinpointed a cause of the infections.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration in March cited the park and fined it more than $33,000 for failing to properly clean cooling equipment linked to the outbreak and for other related violations. Cal-OSHA didn’t announce the fine. The Times requested and recently obtained the citation.

Cal-OSHA looked into the Legionnaires’ cases because three Disneyland employees were sickened in the outbreak, two of them requiring hospitalization. The agency investigates only hazards that endanger workers, so its findings do not address how 19 non-employees were infected.

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