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Coccidioidomycosis: An Enduring Work-Related Disease

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Oil and Gas, Outdoor Work, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health

A prison located in an arid, hyperendemic area of the Central Valley of California. There is little natural vegetation on the grounds and in the surrounding areas. Photograph by NIOSH.

Background

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The fungus grows in the soil in very dry areas. Coccidioidomycosis is endemic (native and common) in the southwestern United States, the Central Valley of California, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America [CDC 2013a]. About 150,000 new infections have been estimated to occur each year in the United States [Galgiani et al. 2005] but only about 22,000 cases were reported in 2011 in the United States. This suggests that the disease is greatly underreported [CDC 2013b]. The apparent incidence of reported coccidioidomycosis increased from 1998 to 2011, from 5.3 cases per 100,000 population in the endemic area (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) in 1998 to 42.6 cases per 100,000 in 2011, although concern has been expressed that some of this increase might be related to changes in surveillance definitions, laboratory practices, and increased awareness leading to increased testing for the disease [CDC 2013b].

Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structure (CROPS)

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Engineering Control, Motor Vehicle Safety, Outdoor Work, Transportation

Despite a decades-long effort to raise awareness about the importance of roll over protective structures (ROPS) in preventing injury and death from tractor roll overs, tractor overturns continue to be the leading cause of occupational agricultural death in the United States.

While all tractors produced since 1986 come with ROPS as standard equipment, farm tractors have a long life span.  Unless a tractor has been retrofitted, operators of older tractors are unprotected during rollovers.   We know there are various reasons for the reluctance to retrofit older tractors with ROPS.  We’ve heard them all: “They cost too much.” “They are too much of a hassle to find/install.” “My dad/grandpa/ mother/uncle never used them and they never had a problem.”  The fact remains that farmworkers continue to die while working on unprotected tractors. 

El trabajo con vehículos todo-terreno

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Motor Vehicle Safety, Oil and Gas, Outdoor Work, Transportation

This blog post is also available in English
 

Trabajador jalando un tronco en una pequeña operación forestal.

Durante los últimos treinta años, los vehículos todo-terreno (VTT) se han vuelto cada vez más populares a nivel recreativo y se han convertido en una herramienta importante en el trabajo.   Con unos 11 millones en uso en el 2010, tanto en actividades laborales como recreativas, los VTT se han vuelto un medio de transporte común.        

Los VTT se empezaron a fabricar a fines de la década de 1960 como vehículos para el traslado del campo a la ciudad, en áreas aisladas y montañosas de Japón. Se comenzaron a usar en los Estados Unidos a principios de los años ochenta para la agricultura. Los VTT tienen muchas

All-terrain Vehicles and Work

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Motor Vehicle Safety, Oil and Gas, Outdoor Work, Transportation

Worker hauling log during small-scale forestry operation

Over the past 30 years, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have grown increasingly popular recreationally and have become a valuable asset at work.   With an estimated 11 million in use in 2010 for both work and recreation, ATVs have become a common means of transportation.       

ATVs were first manufactured in the late 1960s as farm-to-town vehicles for use in isolated, mountainous areas in Japan. They were first introduced in the U.S. for agricultural applications in the early 1980s. ATVs have many unique features that enable them to operate in a variety of harsh environments where other larger, less mobile vehicles cannot be used, making them very useful in the workplace. 

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