NV OSHA Issues Guidance On Wildfire Smoke
May 12, 2022
The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NV OSHA) has issued a guidance addressing how employers can protect workers from wildfire smoke. NV OSHA explains that wildfire smoke “is composed of small particles suspended in the air” which can present a health hazard for workers. “These particles can irritate the lungs and have a range of potentially serious health effects from permanently reduced lung function to heart failure.”
NV OSHA advises employers to take “proactive steps to mitigate the effects of wildfire smoke and meet their general duty to protect their employees” from this hazard. Specifically, NV OSHA recommends that employers consider the following measures:
- Monitor the EPA Air Quality map at least once daily if working in an area exposed to wildfire smoke.
- Provide training regarding the hazards of wildfire smoke and encourage employees to report worsening air quality issues and any potential personal health effects resulting from poor air quality.
- Determine when respiratory protection is needed and what type is appropriate based on the federal OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard. Consider maintaining a sufficient supply of N95 respirators for voluntary use by employees. (Employers that allow employees to voluntarily wear N95 respirators must comply with the voluntary-use provisions of 29 CFR 1910.134(c)(2)).
- Follow the activity level guidance in the EPA’s Air Quality Guide for Particle Pollution.
- Consider increasing the frequency of breaks in an indoor environment with appropriate ventilation and air filtering.
- Establish clear procedures for stopping work when air quality levels reach an unsafe level.
- Establish and implement a plan to respond to employees reporting symptoms of exposure to wildfire smoke.
We recommend that you review this guidance and incorporate it into your safety plans as appropriate for your workplace. If you have questions or need assistance in this area, please contact a KZA attorney.
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