A California date company was handed citations from Cal/OSHA after a bee swarm fatally attacked a worker. They were cited for failing to protect tree workers from these kinds of hazards. Safety guidelines specifically point to bee stings as a fatal hazard of this line of work.
A worker for Hadley Date Gardens Inc. of Thermal, CA was spraying water on a date palm tree from an elevated bucket which accidentally disturbed a beehive. The bees swarmed and stung the worker so many times that he went into anaphylactic shock and died.
Hadley Date Gardens Inc. of Thermal, CA received four citations, two of which were serious. They were cited for failing to evaluate the worksite for hazardous bee and insect exposure, and for failure to establish appropriate safety protocols such as providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and training that may have prevented this death. The fines total $41,130.
“Recognized workplace hazards for tree workers include bee and other harmful insect exposure,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers must identify and evaluate workplace hazards, and provide appropriate personal protective equipment and effective training to their workers.”
The Tree Work Safety guidelines point to certain hazards that employees and employers should be aware of and be protected from like crushing injuries from falls or falling tree branches, electrical shocks, heat stroke from exposure to hot environments, anaphylaxis from bee stings and other injuries. The guide can be found here.
Read the press release from Cal/OSHA here.