No one should be exposed to conditions that are so unsanitary that workers are infected with bacteria that cause typhoid fever. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued a fine that exceeds $5,000 after inspecting workplace conditions to which Los Angeles Police Department officers were exposed. Reportedly, some officers were diagnosed with Salmonella Typhi. The investigation took place last November, and their medical expenses will likely be covered by workers’ compensation claims.
LAPD officers have to deal with the risks of being injured or shot while they are out trying to keep the city streets safe. They also have to deal with exposure to rats, trash and other hazards while working in unsanitary encampments. Cal/OSHA says employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees, and as a part of that duty, workers must be informed about potential hazards, how to recognize the risks and how to protect themselves.
Investigators say the officers did not receive safety training to inform them of the method of transmission, the symptoms of the bacterial infection, and the steps to take to prevent infections. They were likely also unaware that they could infect their families when they go home. Cal/OSHA reported that additional safety violations included improperly maintained air conditioning systems and inadequate electric wiring that led to the permanent use of extension cords.
Just like any other members of the Los Angeles workforce, LAPD officers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If their conditions led to temporary disabilities, the lost wages, along with their medical expenses, will likely form part of the compensation they receive. Filing claims with the California workers’ compensation program could be a daunting prospect, but the assistance of legal counsel can simplify the process.