Cal/OSHA Cites Six Employers over $240,000 for Exposing Workers to Valley Fever

November 20, 2017 | By forimmediaterele | Filed in: Press Releases.

Travel & Tourism Industry release:

The employers at the California Flats Solar Project in Cholame Hills were cited for serious violations that included failure to control employee exposure to contaminated dust at the worksite, and failure to provide and ensure use of appropriate respiratory protection. One employer, Papich Construction, Inc., was cited in 2013 for some of the same violations.

“Employers who work in areas endemic to Valley Fever must take preventative measures to protect workers who may be exposed,” said Juliann Sum, Chief of Cal/OSHA.

Employers cited include:

Employer

Type

Violation Classification

Proposed Penalties

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

General contractor

Serious – 2, General – 2

$46,540

Papich Construction Co., Inc.

Subcontractor

Repeat Serious – 1,

Serious – 1, General – 2

$68,900

Granite Construction Co., Inc.

Subcontractor

Serious – 2, General – 2

$46,590

Sachs Electric Company

Subcontractor

Serious – 2, General – 2

$46,400

Dudek

Subcontractor

Serious – 1, General – 2

$23,620

Althouse and Meade, Inc.

Subcontractor

Serious – 1

$9,900

Valley Fever is caused by a microscopic fungus known as Coccidioides immitis, which lives in the top two to 12 inches of soil in many parts of the state. When soil is disturbed by digging, driving, or high winds, fungal spores can become airborne and may be inhaled by workers. While the fungal spores are more likely to be present in the soils of the Central Valley, they may also be present in other areas of California. Cal/OSHA’s Valley Fever informational page provides detailed information with resources for workers and employers.

Tips for reducing the risk of Valley Fever exposure include:

  • Determine if a worksite is in an area where fungal spores are likely to be present.
  • Adopt site plans and work practices that minimize the disturbance of soil and maximize ground cover.
  • Use water, appropriate soil stabilizers, and/or re-vegetation to reduce airborne dust.
  • Limit workers’ exposure to outdoor dust in disease-endemic areas by (1) providing air-conditioned cabs for vehicles that generate dust and making sure workers keep windows and vents closed, (2) suspending work during heavy winds, and (3) providing sleeping quarters, if applicable, away from sources of dust.
  • When exposure to dust is unavoidable, provide approved respiratory protection to filter particles.
  • Train supervisors and workers in how to recognize symptoms of Valley Fever and minimize exposure.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from safety and health hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.

Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices. Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).

Members of the press may contact Peter Melton or Jeanne-Mairie Duval at (510) 286-1161, and are encouraged to subscribe to get email alerts on DIR’s press releases or other departmental updates.

The California Department of Industrial Relations, established in 1927, protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. For general inquiries, contact DIR’s Communications Call Center at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734) for help in locating the appropriate division or program in our department.

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View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/calosha-cites-six-employers-over-240000-for-exposing-workers-to-valley-fever-300559637.html

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA

Related Links

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