As Valley Fever cases continue to rise in California, a recent law aims to protect construction workers in areas of the state most affected by the disease. Assembly Bill 203—signed into law in October 2019—requires construction employers in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura counties to provide effective Valley Fever awareness and prevention training to employees.

Training should include:

  • Prevention methods
  • Risk factors
  • How to recognize symptoms
  • Importance of reporting symptoms to an employer and seeking medical attention

The law requires employers to complete the training by May 1, 2020. View the guide below for help meeting this new training requirement.

Valley Fever cases on the rise

California saw its highest number of cases in 2019 with more than 9,000, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). That’s more than 1,000 cases higher than 2018. For the first two months of 2020, CDPH reports nearly 1,100 cases which is 50 more than the same period last year.

Valley Fever results from breathing in spores from the Coccidioides fungus that lives in the dirt in affected areas. When soil is disturbed, the spores become airborne; increasing the chance workers can become infected. Outdoor workers, especially those in agriculture and construction, are particularly at risk. Valley fever usually infects the lungs, but in rare cases can spread to other parts of the body. It can be fatal in rare cases, too.

As Valley Fever continues to rise in California, awareness, prevention steps, and the additional training now required can help your employees stay safe when digging up the soil.

 

Resources

Treatment for Valley Fever (CDC)
Who’s at Higher Risk for Developing Valley Fever
California Dept. of Public Health Valley Fever 
Protect Your Workers From Valley Fever

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.

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