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Cal/OSHA cites employers for exposing workers to valley fever

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California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited six employers a total $241,950 in penalties for workplace safety and health violations after reports that workers contracted valley fever on a solar project construction site in Monterey County.

General contractor and subcontractors McCarthy Building Cos. Inc., Papich Construction Co. Inc., Granite Construction Co. Inc., Sachs Electric Co., Dudek, and Althouse and Meade Inc. 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,” Cal/OSHA said Monday in a statement.

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 California.

“Employers who work in areas endemic to Valley Fever must take preventive measures to protect workers who may be exposed,” said Juliann Sum, San Francisco-based chief of Cal/OSHA.