Washington Starts Process of Developing Wildfire Smoke Worker Safety Rules

Washington Starts Process of Developing Wildfire Smoke Worker Safety Rules

After a series of debilitating wildfires on the west coast, Washington is mapping out worker safety rules to protect employees from the dangerous effects of wildfire smoke.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries is developing workplace health and safety rules concerning wildfire smoke, according to Insurance Journal.

Washington L&I filed the CR-101, the official notification that starts the rule-making process, last week in an effort to combat the effects of wildfires on the west coast. The rules will address control of harmful exposures, training and instruction and identification of harmful exposures.

Meetings will be held in the coming months to compile information for an initial draft of a wildfire smoke rule.

“It’s clear that wildfire smoke isn’t a short-term issue. It impacts all of us, but is especially concerning for workers who have to be outside and breathe it in all day long,” said Craig Blackwood, deputy assistant director, Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “By developing clear rules that spell out the safety and health requirements related to protective equipment and training, we can help businesses protect workers from these serious hazards.”

Washington state was left with air quality that ranked as some of the worst in the world after September’s wildfires. It is the second state after California to formally undertake rule-making about workers and wildfire smoke.

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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