State Investigators Question Workers at San Francisco Public Works Amid Probe into Safety Violations

The state's watchdog for worker safety, Cal/OSHA, has been collecting information and interviewing employees at San Francisco Public Works since it launched its investigation on Feb. 5

NBC Bay Area has learned an investigator with Cal/OSHA visited San Francisco Public Works on Monday as part of an ongoing state probe into potential safety violations.

Cal/OSHA, a watchdog for worker safety, has the authority to mandate changes within Public Works and issue up to tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

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San Francisco’s attempts to haul away trash are “flawed” and “dangerous,” according to employees inside the city’s Public Works Department. The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit starting digging into the safety concerns late last year, and now the state has launched its own probe. NBC Bay Area Senior Investigative Reporter Bigad Shaban reports.

A recent report by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed the city's fleet of street-cleaning vehicles is often overloaded with trash and unsecured.  California law and Public Works' own safety manual require garbage to be covered or strapped down while transported in the backs of pickup trucks, so that the trash doesn't fall out of moving vehicles. Yet, San Francisco Public Works may have been ignoring those requirements for years as its street-cleaning crews consistently hauled trash across town to the city dump.

In speaking with the Investigative Unit, Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru appeared unaware of his department's own policies and state safety laws that govern his fleet of roughly 350 street-cleaning vehicles. Nuru, however, vowed to make major safety changes in the wake of the NBC Bay Area investigation.


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