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Workplace accidents: Bees sting California tree worker to death

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has specific safety regulations pertaining to tree workers. It requires employers to establish a written program to protect workers from suffering injuries in workplace accidents and ensure that only qualified workers engage in activities such as tree trimming, removal and repairs. Along with safe workplace environments, workers must receive safety training to create awareness and improve knowledge of potential safety hazards.

Cal/OSHA recently concluded an investigation into an incident last July in which a 49-year-old tree worker was attacked by a swarm of aggravated bees and stung to death. Reportedly, the worker was spraying water when he unintentionally also sprayed a beehive. The disturbance caused the swarm of bees to attack the worker. After multiple bee stings, he apparently suffered anaphylaxis and died.

The safety agency says exposure to harmful insects is a known safety hazard for tree workers. Compliance investigators determined that the employer failed to assess the work site to identify potential dangers. Additional citations were issued for the company's failure to provide employees with the necessary personal protective equipment that could have prevented this fatality.

Surviving family members of deceased victims of fatal workplace accidents will likely struggle to cope with the unanticipated financial burdens of end-of-life expenses and lost income. They could pursue financial relief through the California workers' compensation insurance system. They will also be free to secure the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to guide them through the complicated claims proceedings to secure the survivors' benefits to which they are entitled.

Source:, "Cal/OSHA Cites Hadley Date Gardens After Bees Kill Worker", Stefanie Valentic, Jan. 16, 2018

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