Should your company have a bee awareness policy? We may find out after Cal-OSHA finishes investigating a worker death in California. The victim, working on a crew that was grading a field for a parking lot in Riverside California, appears to have disturbed a bee colony. He was stung multiple times and died. No word on how many times he was stung or whether they were European honey bees or their more aggressive Africanized cousins.
According to a Cal/OSHA spokesperson, “investigators will consult experts on whether the contractor… should have anticipated the presence of bees and taken precautions.” A lot of companies lump bees in with scorpions, recluse spiders, snakes, fire ants and every other type of wildlife into the unofficial category of “critter awareness” training,but most leave it up to the individual worker to keep an eye out. The statement from Cal/OSHA implies the agency is looking at whether the company has a responsibility to survey the worksite in advance to see if there are bees. We may find out when they finish their investigation.