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Workplace injuries: Public park cleaners face health risks

Public parks in California such as Capitol Park in Sacramento have become areas where homeless individuals spend their nights. The garbage and debris they leave behind are causing problems for workers who have to clean up. Reportedly, a director of public employees filed a complaint on behalf of employees who fear they could suffer serious workplace injuries due to their exposure to fecal matter and blood.

Workers say their duties to maintain, repair and clean park facilities expose them to hazardous garbage. Furthermore, they are issued with high-pressure washers that break up waste and disperse it in a way that exposes workers to blood-borne diseases. They say that passers-by are also exposed to the same hazards. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigated the complaints and proposed fines of over $3,000 along with several citations.

Cal/OSHA investigators determined that employees did not receive adequate training and information about safety procedures. They also lacked appropriate equipment and personal protective devices. The facility management of the department also failed to record injuries, nor did they carry out regular hazard assessments.

California workers who are exposed to hazardous conditions might find comfort in the fact that the workers' compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance for those who suffer workplace injuries. An attorney who is experienced in navigating benefits claims can assist with the administrative and legal procedures. The benefits typically include compensation for all medical expenses along with lost wages for workers that cannot return to work immediately. Wage-replacement packages will be based on the injured worker's average weekly wage.

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