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Spray pesticides in LA buses spark drivers' workers' comp claims

Employers are obligated and bound by law to provide safe working conditions for employees. In some cases, what is considered a “safe working environment” is relatively simple to identify. However, in other cases, it may not be so clear cut. Employers and employees may disagree about the effects of certain procedures or products used by companies on employees’ safety and health and what may actually lead to work-related illness or not.

Such is the case today with a group of bus drivers for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) who are claiming that MTA’s use of certain spray pesticides inside buses is the cause of their workplace illness. Authorities from MTA refute the employees’ claims that the pesticides are unsafe saying that they are commonly used products and that the need to keep buses free from infestations requires their use.

More than 110 bus drivers have requested that the use of the pesticides be stopped. Several others are filing workers’s compensation claims for work-related illness and at least three more drivers have filed official complaints with the California Dvision of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) in the last two years. Drivers are complaining of symptoms ranging from nauseau to dizziness, heaches to breathing problems and more. One driver has even retired early.

The need and expectation for a safe working environment is one that all employees share. Any illness, either short term or with long-term effects, that results from working conditions is something that may be best served by talking with an attorney experienced in workplace injuries, workers’ compensation and related topics. Workers have the right to be given a healthy place in which to perform their job duties.

Source: Source: Los Angeles Times, “Some L.A. County bus drivers say pesticides are making them ill,” Dan Weikel, June 16, 2013

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