Written on: July 30, 2023
From the Propane Gas Association of New England
Summer is the prime time to work outdoors installing and painting tanks, as well as other service work. This summer wildfire smoke from Canada continues to impact air quality across significant portions of the country.
Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases and particles from burning vegetation and other materials. While the risk of experiencing symptoms from exposure varies from person to person, workers can have different risk factors such as age and health conditions that make them more likely to be affected. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are steps employers can take to mitigate these potential risks, including:
Relocate or reschedule work tasks to another time or day;
Reduce levels of physical activity;
Require and encourage frequent breaks in smoke-free places;
Provide N95 masks as an option if air quality is especially poor.
Facemasks or respirators like N95 masks are one of the easiest controls to implement for limiting a worker’s exposure to the particulates in wildfire smoke. Ultimately, preparation and planning by employers and employees can help reduce workers’ exposure to wildfire smoke. You can monitor the air quality in your local area here.