Valley Fever Awareness
Valley Fever is caused by Coccidioides immitis, a microscopic fungus that lives in the top 2 to 12 inches of soil in portions of the State. Once the soil is disturbed, spores become airborne and, as a result, can be inhaled.
Employers who work in areas endemic to Valley Fever must take preventative measures to protect workers who may be exposed. (AB 203)
Cal/OSHA provides the following suggestions about preventing Valley Fever:
- Determine if a worksite is in an area where fungal spores likely are 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.
See Safety Note #202: Valley Fever Awareness
Assembly Bill No. 203 (AB 203), an act to add Section 6709 to the Labor Code, relating to occupational safety and health. Approved by Governor October 10, 2019.
The bill requires construction employers engaging in specified work activities or vehicle operation in counties where Valley Fever is highly endemic to provide effective awareness training annually and before an employee begin work that is reasonably anticipated to cause a substantial dust disturbance. (Substantial dust disturbance means visible airborne dust for a total duration of one hour or more on any day.)
Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA applicable regulations with regard to Valley Fever protection and exposure can be found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, sections:
- Section 342 (Reporting Work-Connected Fatalities and Serious Injuries),
- Section 3203 (Injury and Illness Prevention),
- Section 5141 (Control of Harmful Exposures),
- Section 5144 (Respiratory Protection) and
- Section 14300 (Employer Records-Log 300).
Employees working at worksites in Counties where Valley Fever is highly endemic, including Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura. (Highly endemic means that the annual incidence rate of Valley Fever is greater than 20 cases per 100,000 persons per year.) While the AB 203 mandate is specific to ‘construction’ employers, the work activities specified are equally related to Ag. operations being performed at various ANR worksites.
Applies when performing activities that:
Can reasonably be anticipated to cause exposure to substantial dust disturbance. Substantial dust disturbance means visible airborne dust for a total duration of one hour or more on any day. Disturbing the soil includes, but is not limited to, digging, grading, or other earth moving operations, or vehicle operation on dirt roads, or high winds.
*Training for employees shall include the following topics (as specified in AB 203):
(1) What Valley Fever is and how it is contracted.
(2) High risk areas and types of work and environmental conditions during which the risk of contracting Valley Fever is highest.
(3) Personal risk factors that may create a higher risk for some individuals.
(4) Personal and environmental exposure prevention method.
(5) The importance of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment to help prevent the disease from progressing.
(6) Recognizing common signs and symptoms of Valley Fever.
(7) The importance of reporting symptoms, seeking medical attention, and appropriate diagnosis.
(8) Common treatment and prognosis for Valley Fever.
*See UC ANR Valley Fever Training for full training outline and notes.
Training Completion Survey:
Please complete the following brief survey to acknowledge that you have received Valley Fever awareness information/training: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=26101
Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/valley-fever-home.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/index.html
CDC resources in Español: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/spanish/index.html
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Valley Fever Prevention in a Work Setting: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/valleyfever/prevention.html
California Department of Public Health, CDPH: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Coccidioidomycosis.aspx
CDPH in Español: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/FiebredelValle.aspx
Assembly Bill 203, Valley Fever Legislation: //ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/333255.pdf or https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB203
Safety Note, Educational Materials, Fact Sheets, Postings:
Safety Note #202: Valley Fever Awareness
CDC Facts about Valley Fever PDF Fact Sheet: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/pdf/Facts-about-valley-fever-H.pdf
CDPH Preventing Work-Related Valley Fever Fact Sheet: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/HESIS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/CocciFact.pdf
Trainings, Power Points, Webinars:
CDPH Valley Fever Tailgate Training Guide: //ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/333256.pdf or https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/HESIS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/ValleyFeverWorkerTraining.pdf
CDPH Tailgate Training Guide in Español: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/HESIS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/ValleyFeverWorkerTrainingSPAN.pdf
CDPH Power Point Valley Fever Training: //ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/333257.pptx
CDPH Preventing Valley Fever in Outdoor Workers Webinar: https://vimeo.com/391621871/b6e6346fb2
Webinar Slides: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/HESIS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/ValleyFeverOutdoorWorkersFeb2020.pdf
CDC Power Point Valley Fever Training: //ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/333258.pptx