California employers must ensure they take action to protect their workers from smoke, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health reminded employers in a statement Thursday.
With almost two dozen fires burning in the state as of late Thursday, employers close to these fires must comply with Cal / OSHA's regulation on emergency smoke, which entered into force in July 2019 and has been extended to early 2021.
"Employers are are obliged to protect their outdoor workers and must evaluate the health risks posed by fire, "said Doug Parker, Cal / OSHA chief." If employers cannot move indoor operations where the air is sufficiently filtered and they do not have access to respiratory protection, they may need to stop. operations until the outdoor air quality improves. "
Smoke from fire burns contains chemicals, gases and fine particles that can harm health, with the greatest risk of breathing fine particles in the air that can reduce lung function, worsen asthma or other existing heart and lung conditions, and cause coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing, according to Cal / OSHA.
In areas where the current air quality index is marked 1
The Agency noted that employers who move operations indoors or into enclosed spaces due to forest fires must ensure that they also follow guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
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