Wildfire smoke blowing across Washington State this week puts companies and employees on alert for new health and safety dangers.
Labor & Industries has posted a detailed summary of the possible health effects that can result from breathing dangerous smoke from the fires. They contain many hazardous chemicals that can:
- Irritate the eyes, nose, and throat
- Cause wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, headache, and worsen allergies
- Aggravate existing lung, heart, and circulatory conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and angina.
The Washington smoke blog also is keeping an eye on air quality readings across the state. The site offers several ways companies can remind employees how to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke.
A few key ideas include:
- Stay inside if you can with doors and windows closed
- Take it easy. Smoky air is not good for vigorous activities. Putting off chopping wood, mowing the lawn, or going for a run all are good ideas. Try to keep children and pets quiet, too.
- Set air to recirculate on your HVAC or window air conditioner if you have one
- Reduce smoke if you’re out in your car by closing the windows and vents and running the air conditioner on recirculate.
- Have a smartphone? Download the Smoke Sense App
- Go online to track fires and smoke here.
Rick Means is Washington Retail’s Director of Safety & Education. He helps members with drawing up safety plans and coming up with timely ideas for safety meetings. Reach Rick at 360-200-6454 or [email protected].