THERMAL (CBSLA) — The state agency in charge of worker safety has cited a date orchard in California’s low desert for the death of a worker fatally stung by bees last year.
Cal/OSHA issued over $40,000 in fines to Hadley Date Gardens, Inc. Thursday for the July 3 death of Gerardo Balbuena of Thermal in the Coachella Valley, where the farm is located.
Balbuena was watering a date tree when he disturbed a beehive, according to a Cal/OSHA statement. Bees then attacked the 49-year-old man, causing him to go into anaphylactic shock. He died at the scene.
Cal/OSHA issued the company four citations totaling $41,310, two of which were classified as “serious accident-related.” The agency said Hadley had failed to evaluate the farm for bee and insect exposure.
Cal/OSHA guidelines list bee stings as potentially fatal workplace hazards.