In anticipation of another heavy wildfire season employers are reminded that wildfire smoke and subsequent cleanup efforts present unique workplace hazards.

In California, Cal/OSHA mandates protective equipment (e.g., N95 masks) as a wildfire season necessity in areas where the current Air Quality Index (current AQI) for airborne particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller (PM2.5) is 151 or greater[1], and where employers should reasonably anticipate that employees could be exposed to wildfire smoke.

With summer temperatures on the rise, state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administrations are reminding all employers to be prepared to protect outdoor workers from heat illness. Heat illness is more likely to occur during the transitional period between spring and summer as temperatures start to climb and workers are not yet accustomed to working at full capacity. State and federal law require employers to monitor outdoor workers assigned to high heat areas.

In its fact sheet, Addressing PPE Needs in Non-Healthcare Setting, FEMA provides guidance on acquiring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the current national shortage.

According to the guidance, if after minimizing the need for PPE through preservation strategies described in the fact sheet, PPE is still required by essential critical infrastructure workers to perform their duties, organizations should:

Cory Lunde

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Heat Illness

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