This year is already shaping up to be a busy one for wildfires. So far, there have been more than 600 wildfires reported in Washington, which is about twice as many as usual.
Each icon represents a fire our DNR crews have responded to this year. If that seems like a lot, it’s because it is. Our 10-year average for this point in the year is 318 fires. pic.twitter.com/8JPLUs1xPa
— Hilary Franz (@Hilary_FranzCPL) July 7, 2021
To help outdoor workers, the Department of Labor & Industries filed new emergency rules for wildfire smoke. The new laws went into effect on July 16 and include:
- Employers must learn to identify harmful smoke exposure risks and when to notify their employees
- Ensure that employees showing symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure are monitored and receive medical care when necessary
- Employers must monitor the air quality using an app or visiting an appropriate website (Listed below)
- Employers must train supervisors and employees about wildfire smoke
- Employers must act when the air quality is harmful to their employees, such as limiting or eliminating their exposure to wildfire smoke
Air quality is considered dangerous when the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 151 or higher. Some air quality conditions may be harmful to those with pre-existing conditions.
Some measures employers may take to reduce their employees’ exposure to dangerous air quality include:
- Moving duties indoors
- Reducing work intensity
- Providing additional rest periods
- Providing employees with respirators or masks
Websites to check air quality:
- EPA’s AirNow website
- Washington State Department of Ecology’s Air Monitoring Network
- U.S. Forest Service AirFire website
- EPA Enviroflash
- NowCast WAQA
Mobile apps you can download:
You can find a complete list of safety rules on L&I’s website.