Cal/OSHA charges company for worker’s death from bee sting

Agency says employers responsible for protecting workers from similar incidents

Posted January 26, 2018

In July 2017, a swarm of bees attacked and killed a tree worker employed by a California gardening and landscaping company. As a result, Cal/OSHA issued four citations to the company totaling $41,310 in proposed penalties for workplace safety and health violations. Two of the violations were classified as serious accident-related.

According to Cal/OSHA, the tree worker was watering a date palm tree from the elevated bucket of a spraying rig when he disturbed a beehive. The bees swarmed and stung the worker, who went into anaphylactic shock and died.

Cal/OSHA agency said employers are responsible for identifying and evaluating the hazards of their workplaces and providing appropriate personal protective equipment to employees. In addition, employers must provide effective training to their workers.

The employer failed to evaluate the worksite for hazardous bee and insect exposure, Cal/OSHA claims. Further, the employer failed to establish appropriate safety protocols, including providing personal protective equipment that could have prevented the incident. The agency specifically lists bee stings as a potentially fatal hazard tree workers face in its “Tree Work Safety” guidelines.

California Workplace Safety ManualJ. J. Keller's California Workplace Safety Manual provides guidance to help comply with Cal/OSHA's most scrutinized requirements.


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