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California Company Cited for Failure to Protect Workers from Valley Fever Exposure Risks

Clark Seif Clark (CSC) provides industrial hygiene and environmental testing, training, and consulting services to identify and mitigate potential hazards in the workplace.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

Digging or disturbing soil in areas known to have this type of fungus increases the risk of workers becoming infected.

In late March of this year, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, issued serious health and safety citations to a construction company after two of its employees contracted Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis). Both employees were hospitalized after being diagnosed with the infection.
According to Cal/OSHA, the workers were exposed to the fungus that causes the disease while using hand tools to dig trenches in Kings, Fresno and Merced counties. It also stated that the company “…did not evaluate the hazard of performing digging work in areas known to contain the Coccidioides fungal spores. The employer did not suppress or control harmful dusts and failed to provide employees with respiratory protection. Cal/OSHA issued three citations to the employer with $27,000 in proposed penalties.”
Coccidioides live in the soil in the southwestern United States and was recently found in south-central Washington. While most workers do not get sick from worksite exposures, some may after breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air.
“Digging or disturbing soil in areas known to have this type of fungus increases the risk of workers becoming infected,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark. “The State of California Department of Industrial Relations reports that these fungal spores are more likely to be present in the soils of the Central Valley, but they may also be present in other areas of California. Employers have a legal responsibility to control worker exposure to this and other harmful materials. Applicable regulations found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, include Sections 342 (Reporting Work-Connected Fatalities and Serious Injuries), 3203 (Injury and Illness Prevention), 5141 (Control of Harmful Exposures), 5144 (Respiratory Protection) and 14300 (Employer Records-Log 300).”
In California and throughout the Southwest, Clark Seif Clark’s industrial hygiene and environmental professionals provide worksite assessments to identify microbial and chemical exposure risks. They also offer personal protective equipment (PPE) training. These services help to keep companies in regulatory compliance and protect workers from these types of hazards.
To learn more about this or other occupational, air quality, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Valley Fever
 Industrial Hygiene
 Air Testing
 Occupational Health

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