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OSHA Guidelines for Wildfire Season

| Sep 6, 2018 | News, Workplace Injuries |

The state of California is no stranger to wildfires, which has prompted Cal/OSHA to issue a reminder to employers about providing workers with proper protective equipment to help keep them safe during a wildfire.

Wildfire smoke contains dangerous chemicals, gases, and fine particles that can severely damage your health. Breathing in these harmful substances can reduce your lung function, increase asthma symptoms, and can cause coughing and wheezing, which makes it difficult to breath.

If you work for a company that is commonly exposed to wildfire smoke, your employer must consider safety measures that will reduce your risk of suffering health damage.

Below are examples of measures that employers can take to reduce wildfire smoke related injuries:

  • Installing a filtered ventilation system in indoor work areas
  • Reducing the amount of time that workers can perform their duties outdoors
  • Providing respiratory protective equipment, like disposable filtering facepieces (dust masks)

The following types of respirators have been approved by OSHA:                       

  • N-95
  • N-99
  • N-100
  • R-95
  • P-95
  • P-99
  • P-100

All respirators have to be labeled and approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Because breathing through a respirator requires more effort, workers increase the risk of heat stress when using these devices.

In addition to providing workers with functional respirators, employers have also been advised to allow employees to take frequent breaks during a wildfire. If employees become dizzy, faint or nauseated, OSHA advises that they go to a clean area, take off their respirator, and get assessed by a physician.  Dirty respirators and those that are hard to breathe through should be discarded and replaced with a new respirator daily.

San Jose Workers’ Comp Attorneys

Have you suffered injuries at work that are related to wildfire smoke? If so, you might be entitled to financial compensation. At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, our attorneys are here to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. We are dedicated to helping injured workers’ protect their rights and we will do everything we can to secure a positive case result for you.

Call (408) 709-7317, or contact our team of San Jose workers’ comp lawyers to schedule your free consultation.