LA City Workers Exposed to Filth and Bodily Fluids: State Inspectors

Los Angeles City Hall. (Chris Marshall/CNS)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – State inspectors cited the city of Los Angeles on Thursday over City Hall employees’ exposure to trash and bodily fluids outside the iconic art deco building.

Inspectors with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health served the City Attorney’s Office in City Hall East, across the street from the main building, one of the citations. Homeless people camp in a nearby outdoor plaza and along the sidewalks, and Cal/OSHA says city employees complained about exposure to unsanitary conditions outside their offices along walkways, including trash and bodily fluids.

City Attorney spokesperson Rob Wilcox said the office will appeal the citation because the conditions referenced in the report involve exterior grounds of City Hall East, which the city attorney has no role in maintaining.

The city’s General Services Department also received a Cal/OSHA citation. The offices face a combined $1,995 in penalties.

“We are appealing OSHA’s tentative of the city’s General Services Department as we disagree with OSHA’s findings because the city did comply with state regulations,” said Wilcox.

The citations are the latest round in several months of troubles for City Hall. This past winter, the city hired a pest control company to inspect both buildings for a rodent infestation. The company, Cats USA, said trash, feces and other garbage led to the rodent woes.

Meanwhile, Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Greenwood – who works at City Hall East – sued the city this past January claiming she likely contracted typhus while at work.

In her amended complaint, Greenwood says she mentioned her typhus diagnosis to Los Angeles City Attorneys Association president Oscar Winslow but he said he was unaware of the situation. No one who worked at City Hall East were notified about protecting themselves from typhus-carrying fleas at the time, Greenwood claims.

A Cal/OSHA spokesperson confirmed the inspection of the City Attorney’s office stemmed from a complaint, but did not say if the complaint was related to Greenwood’s lawsuit. The citation given to the General Services Department , which provides custodial services on the grounds, came after an unplanned inspection following the first visit.

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