Smoke from wildfires contains fine particles that can reach the deepest parts of the lungs, causing serious health problems. L&I’s emergency rule requires employers to hourly monitor air quality and take action when outdoor workers are exposed to wildfire smoke for more than one hour and the Air Quality Index (AQI) is at 69 or higher.
When workers show signs of injury or illness related to smoke, employers must monitor those workers to determine if medical care is needed and cannot prevent workers from seeking medical treatment.
If the AQI is at 69 or higher, employers are encouraged to limit their workers’ exposure to smoke by:
- Reducing, rescheduling, or relocating work;
- Providing enclosed buildings or vehicles where the air is filtered; and
- Reducing the work intensity or increasing rest periods.
At AQI 69 or higher, employers are encouraged to provide N95 respirators at no cost to the workers, and workers can wear respiratory protection if they choose. At AQI 101, employers must provide N95 respirators for voluntary use—an increase in protection from last year’s wildfire smoke rule.
L&I also recommends employers take action to reduce employee exposure to dangerous air at even lower AQI levels, especially for sensitive groups including those with asthma or other lung conditions.
Additional Information on Wildfire Smoke is available here:
- Air Quality Index (AQI) link
- Chapter 296-62 Part I-3 Adoption Language
- WSR 22-12-094 Rulemaking Order
Here is training for Wildfire Smoke Safety course. This is a narrated, self-paced training resource that offers a short quiz and printed verification.
Contact Rick Means if you have any questions or need assistance on Accident Prevention Program addendum or have other questions.