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Hearing Considers Employee Safety In Wake Of Airline Baggage Handler’s Death

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An informational hearing was held on Friday afternoon to consider employee safety in the wake of the death of a baggage handler, who was a contract worker, at LAX.

The deadly accident occurred on Feb. 21, and claimed the life of 51-year-old Cesar Augusto Valenzuela.

Valenzuela’s widow in Spanish told CBS2’s Dave Lopez that her husband died from injuries he sustained when he was thrown from a luggage cart and was run over by that same cart. She alleges he was tossed out because the seatbelt he was wearing was faulty.

She also told Lopez that her husband complained of the unsafe conditions but that Menzies Aviation – the company he worked for — allegedly wouldn’t take action.

On Friday, outside the State Building in downtown Los Angeles, numerous employees of Menzies Aviation rallied.

Assemblyman Steven Bradford, who represents the 62nd District, told Lopez that employees have come directly to his office to discuss workplace safety.

According to state records Menzies Aviation paid a fine of $95,000 to Cal/OSHA for “unsafe practices” last summer.

Although executives from Menzies Aviation were asked to attend the hearing, they didn’t.

“They opted not to be here today and I think that speaks volumes,” said Assemblyman Bradford.

However, the company – which is a contractor of the airlines and not of LAX itself — sent CBS2 the following statement:

“Maintaining the safest possible environment for our employees, our airline partners, and their passengers is at center of everything Menzies does. We continue to cooperate fully with Cal/OSHA while it conducts its investigation, and are hopeful that we will soon understand how this tragic accident occurred.”

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