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Workers say aerial chemical spray made them sick

A group of construction workers in California say they were sickened after being sprayed with pesticides. The incident took place in Sutter County in July when a helicopter pilot who was conducting aerial agriculture spraying flew close to a construction work site. The 10 workers who were affected by the pesticide spraying say they suffered from chemical pneumonia, continue to experience migraines and now require inhalers.

The same group of workers sustained further workplace injuries in September when a plane dropped whitewash on a walnut orchard near their work site. After visiting the hospital, three of the men obtained medical documents stating that they had suffered from chemical exposure. According to the group, chemical mist from the plane drifted over to their work area.

The agricultural commissioner for Sutter County reported that the pilot in the July incident was completely in error. The company owning the helicopter was expected to be fined, and county leaders stated they began warning workers in the area before scheduled pesticide drops took place. An investigation into both incidents reportedly found that the pilot was not at fault for the incident in September. Workers were not warned before that spraying because the substance being dropped was reportedly not a pesticide.

In order to seek compensation for immediate health care costs, a worker who has been injured in a workplace accident may decide to file a workers' compensation claim. An attorney may be able to help an injured worker pursue workers' compensation benefits and seek additional compensation by filing a personal injury action if the injury is determined to have been caused by the negligence of a non-employer third party.

Source: CBS Sacramento, "Construction workers say second agricultural spray sickened them in Sutter County", October 14, 2014

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