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Washington state is following California’s lead by developing workplace safety and health rules regarding wildfire smoke, the state’s Department of Labor & Industries announced Wednesday.
The department filed an official notice, known as a CR-101, to begin the rulemaking process.
The proposed regulation is expected to address identification of harmful exposures to wildfire smoke, training and instruction on the hazard and include controls for handling harmful smoke exposures.
In July 2019, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued an emergency temporary standard for handling wildfire smoke. The regulation requires employers affected by wildfire smoke to check air quality indexes where workers are located at the start of each shift and take steps to mitigate exposure by relocating workers to enclosed buildings or locations where the air quality index is 150 or lower. The regulation also requires employers in areas with air quality conditions above the threshold to offer all employees N95 masks for voluntarily use and provide training on the regulation, health effects of wildfire smoke and use and maintenance of respirators.
(Reuters) — Around half a million people in Oregon evacuated as dozens of extreme, wind-driven wildfires scorched U.S. West Coast states on Friday, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 16 people, state and local authorities said.