US Department of Labor reminds Pacific Northwest employers to protect workers from the dangers of wildfires, smoke
SEATTLE – More than 40 reported large fires in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have consumed tens of thousands of acres and released significant amounts of smoke in the atmosphere, leading the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to remind employers to protect employees working in areas where wildfires could spark or where smoke may be a concern.
The agency provides information on protecting worker safety and health in wildfire areas, and encourages employers to review evacuation procedures for responding to an emergency, including accounting for personnel, and shutting down or moving operations to safer locations. Employers should also develop a plan on how to conduct response and recovery operations safely amid challenging situations with numerous hazards. These hazards may include electrical work; heavy equipment; heat, smoke and ash; and worker fatigue.
The Centers for Disease Control offers a fact sheet with useful information to reduce hazards related to indoor and outdoor smoke in work or home environments.