It’s well known among people who deal with risks of workplace violence that driving a taxi cab is one of the most dangerous jobs around. Unfortunately, a disturbing story out of Boston reminds us that driving a public bus also carries genuine risks.
Earlier this week, the driver of a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency passenger bus was attacked by a group of teenagers, purportedly after he told one of them to put out a cigarette while on the bus. John Ellement, writing for the Boston Globe (link here), reports on the bus driver’s initial call for police help:
The … dispatcher asked for details and [the bus driver] provided them. “I have unruly passengers, a couple of kids smoking. I’m at Dudley [Street] and Hampden [Street.] Please get them here right away.”
However, the situation quickly escalated. A few minutes later the driver called back:
“Attention. This is 2157,” he says. “I was just assaulted. Got knocked out. Got my head smashed into the window. I’m still at the same location. There is a kid with his foot underneath the bus. About 10 of these kids jumped me.”
While the driver thought his bus was still on the street, the bus had, in fact, slammed into a building on Dudley Street.
The full article contains audio links to the bus driver’s call to the dispatcher and to a 911 call placed by one of the passengers.
Workplace safety and health law
The criminal justice system is getting involved with this situation, and rightly so. Travis Andersen, also for the Globe (link here), reports that two young men, ages 18 and 19, have been arrested in connection with the attack.
However, the driver may have little recourse under workplace safety laws, which haven’t quite caught up with the risks of violence on the job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency charged with enforcing workplace safety laws and promulgating rules and regulations, has developed a number of guidelines, recommendations, and information resources concerning workplace violence for employers and workers, available here. However, as OSHA concedes, there are “no specific standards for workplace violence” under federal law.