After the death of senior trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company $75,000 (later reduced to $12,000) and ordered trainers to stay out of the water with performing whales. SeaWorld appealed the ruling but was denied in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court ruled that SeaWorld was exposing trainers to "recognized hazards" when working with performing orca whales.
Despite this, trainers were allowed back in the tanks in 2012 - only in the small medical tanks that are used to "desensitize" the whales to humans. Desensitization is a measure to prevent them from attacking were anyone to ever fall into the water with a whale.
Though SeaWorld seems aware of the danger of captive whales, it has been less inclined to publicly acknowledge one startling fact. While captive whales have racked up a long list of attacks on trainers, wild whales have a much lower number of fatal attacks on humans: zero.