The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Department recently issued a fine exceeding $5,000 to the Los Angeles Police Department following an investigation into workplace safety at the department's Central Station facility. The agency says inspectors uncovered multiple health hazards that led to unusual workplace injuries. Some of the risks include rats, roaches, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes, grasshoppers and flies.
Of these, the rodents likely pose the most significant risk because exposure can cause infectious diseases such as typhoid fever. According to a Cal/OSHA spokesperson, the agency received reports of LAPD employees having to carry out cleaning tasks at homeless camps. Investigators found that these employees worked in extremely hazardous conditions, with the added risk of carrying the risks of infectious diseases to their families at home.
A doctor who is an expert in working with infectious diseases says typhus can also follow exposure to unsanitary conditions and tainted food. Authorities say it is crucial for workers in such areas to have easy access to facilities for frequent washing of their hands. Further reports indicate that two LAPD officers were undergoing tests for typhus infections, while at least one of their colleagues has been diagnosed with typhoid fever, which could be deadly.
Although typhoid fever does not typically feature as workplace injuries on the workers' compensation benefits claims filed by LAPD officers, the California workers' compensation insurance system will cover the medical expenses and lost wages of affected employees. An experienced attorney can assist with the claims process to obtain applicable benefits. A lawyer can also explain the legal options for family members who became ill from indirect exposure through the occupations of their loved ones.