As anyone who has ever taken public transportation knows, it can be difficult to keep the buses clean. Even if the vehicles are examined each night, it can still become a major problem. In the Los Angeles area, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has experienced an issue with some drivers becoming sick due to pesticides being used to kill bugs and insects on board.
The drivers are suffering flu-like symptoms, sometimes when behind the wheel. They state that have raised their concerns with the MTA, but so far, the issues remain unaddressed. At least 14 drivers have submitted requests for workers' compensation benefits due to the illnesses caused by the pesticides.
The MTA has hired a company to perform the pest control services. The buses are sprayed with a chemical that can lead to health problems for those with long-term exposure. The problem seems worst among drivers on an early day shift, as they are the first to operate the buses after they have been treated.
Buses that have been recently sprayed are sealed off for four hours, and are supposed to have signs posted notifying drivers of the use of insecticide. However, many drivers report that these signs are missing when the drivers are ready to begin their routes.
Some of the drivers have been unable to finish their shifts due to the illnesses they are experiencing. An investigation is pending to determine if the MTA is taking the appropriate steps to protect the drivers.
Those who experience an illness or injury on-the-job may wish to discuss their claims with a workers' compensation attorney. The workers' comp system in California has very specific rules in place, and failing to follow these rules could result in benefits being denied. It is important that workers understand their responsibilities when they become injured or ill.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Some L.A. County bus drivers say pesticides are making them ill," Dan Weikel, June 16, 2013.