Wildfire smoke emergency rule implemented by L&I

Aug 5, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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It’s that time of the year when we are likely to encounter unhealthy air quality due to heavy wildfire smoke. L&I has implemented an emergency rule requiring employers to make KN95 or N95 masks available upon request for employees working outdoors when the Air Quality Index reaches 101.

Although employees are not required to wear them when working outside, it is highly recommended to help filter out smoke particles.

Pleated face masks, bandanas, scarves, and t-shirts worn over the nose and mouth will not provide sufficient protection against wildfire smoke.

Sensitive Groups

People with pre-existing health conditions and those sensitive to air pollution are most likely to experience health problems when exposed to wildfire smoke. Examples of sensitive groups:

  • People with lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including bronchitis, emphysema, and those who smoke
  • People with respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis, bronchiolitis, colds, flu, or those with or recovering from COVID-19
  • People with existing heart or circulatory problems, such as irregular heartbeat congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, angina, and those who have had a heart attack or stroke
  • Children under 18 years old, and adults over age 65
  • Pregnant women
  • People with diabetes
  • People with other medical or health conditions exacerbated by exposure to wildfire smoke as determined by a physician.

Please be sure your business has KN95 or N95 masks on hand.

Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].