Buffalo Zoo fined $91K for 21 OSHA lead violations

Sep 25, 2018

OSHA has issued 21 citations against the Buffalo Zoo during construction of its new Amphibian and Reptile Center.

The Zoo's Reptile Center was originally built in 1942 under the leadership of zoologist Marlin Perkins, best known for more than two decades of the television program "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom."

Reptile Keeper Nate Gorrell with an Eastern Indigo snake during the Buffalo Zoo's renovation announcement in March.
Credit Chris Caya / WBFO News

In March, the center closed for renovations, which included a new roof, heating and ventilation system, exhibits and interactive educational elements.

However, after an investigation, OSHA found the Zoo did not conduct surface tests for lead during the course of renovations.

OSHA also found improper masks were issued to workers. Employees were given dust masks, which does not properly ventilate lead.

Both Zoo employees and outside construction contractors were used for the work. Blood testing was conducted on workers. However, according to OSHA, no elevated levels of lead were found.

The fines for the citations currently total $91,465.

Asked for comment, the Zoo shared the following statement with WBFO:

“The safety of our guests, team members and the animals in our care are paramount. As this is an active matter, the Buffalo Zoo has no further comment except to say that we will continue to cooperate with OSHA to address the citations fully."