Bill Text

Bill Information

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-203 Occupational safety and health: Valley Fever. (2019-2020)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 01/14/2019 09:00 PM
AB203:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 203


Introduced by Assembly Member Salas
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Medina)

January 14, 2019


An act to add Section 6709 to the Labor Code, relating to occupational safety and health.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 203, as introduced, Salas. Occupational safety and health: Valley Fever.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 provides the Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Industrial Relations with the power, jurisdiction, and supervision over all employment and places of employment necessary to enforce and administer all occupational health and safety laws and standards and to protect employees. The act establishes various safety provisions applicable to certain construction activities. A violation of the act under specific circumstances is a crime.
This bill would require construction employers engaging in specified work activities or vehicle operation in counties where Valley Fever is endemic to provide effective awareness training on Valley Fever to all potentially exposed employees annually and before an employee begins work that is reasonably anticipated to cause substantial dust disturbance. The bill would require the training to cover specific topics and would authorize the training to be included in the employer’s injury and illness prevention program training or as a standalone training program. By expanding the definition of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6709 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

6709.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that 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 activities such as digging, grading, driving, or high winds, fungal spores can be immitis, come airborne and potentially be inhaled.
(b) This section applies to a construction employer in a county where Valley Fever is endemic, including, but not limited to, the Counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare, engaged in work activity that disturbs the soil, including, but not limited to, digging, grading, or other earth moving operations, or vehicle operation on dirt roads, where the activity or operation can expose employees to spores of the Valley Fever fungus that become airborne.
(c) An employer subject to this section pursuant to subdivision (b) shall provide effective awareness training on Valley Fever to all potentially exposed employees by May 1, 2020, and annually by that date thereafter, and before an employee begins work that is reasonably anticipated to cause substantial dust disturbance. The training may be included in the employer’s injury and illness prevention program training or as a standalone training program. The training shall include all of the following topics:
(1) What Valley Fever is and how it is contracted.
(2) High risk areas and types of work during which the risk of contracting Valley Fever is highest.
(3) Personal risk factors that may create a higher risk for some individuals, including pregnancy, diabetes, having a compromised immune system due to causes including, but not limited to, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), having received an organ transplant, or taking immunosuppressant drugs such as corticosteroids or tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.
(4) Personal and environmental exposure prevention methods that may include, but are not limited to, water-based dust suppression, good hygiene when skin and clothing is soiled by dust, limiting contamination of drinks and food, working upwind from dusty areas when feasible, and wet cleaning dusty equipment when feasible.
(5) The importance of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment to help prevent the disease from progressing. Early diagnosis and treatment are important because the effectiveness of medication is greatest in early stages of the disease.
(6) Recognizing common signs and symptoms of Valley Fever, which include fatigue, cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, muscle aches or joint pain, rash on upper body or legs, and symptoms similar to influenza that linger longer than usual.
(7) The importance of seeking medical attention and reporting symptoms to a physician and surgeon for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
(8) Common treatment and prognosis for Valley Fever.
(9) Instruction to contact a personal physician and surgeon for more information and for suspected infection.
(d) Training materials may include existing material on Valley Fever developed by a federal, state, or local agency, including, but not limited to, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department of Public Health, or a local health department.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.