Published: Jul 17, 2012 5:03 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A federal panel will not reconsider a judge's ruling to prohibit SeaWorld animal trainers from having unprotected contact with killer whales.
    
Orlando-based SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment filed a petition last week for discretionary review with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission concerning parts of Judge Ken S. Welsch's decision this past spring. The commission rejected SeaWorld's petition.
    
Welsch's ruling followed the February 2010 death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau. She was grabbed and drowned by the six-ton killer whale Tilikum.
    
Following a six-month investigation, OSHA cited SeaWorld with three safety violations and recommended trainers never again be allowed near the whales without a barrier for protection.
    
The Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/MvlukK ) reports that SeaWorld must now decide whether to appeal the judge's order in a U.S. appellate court.
    
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Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com

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