As the smoke from current wildfires in Canada spreads over the Unites States, the NECA Safety Executive Directors want to equip members with the knowledge needed to operate through this situation safely.
The thick smoke is negatively impacting air quality and potentially putting more people at health risk from inhalation and soot exposure. The EPA, the USDA Forest Service as well as other federal, state and community agencies and organizations are working together to identify ways everyone can proactively reduce their health risk before and during a wildfire event. Employers, employees, and others can use the resources in the Smoke-Ready Toolbox to help educate workers about the risks of smoke exposure and the actions they can take to protect themselves.
Other resources and links below provide additional information about wildfires and the hazards that arise from poor air quality due to the increase in smoke and toxins in the air we breathe. Using respirators and limiting time outdoors in these affected areas is important. Wildfire smoke can lead to respiratory distress and this smoke should be avoided for extended periods of time. Those with chronic respiratory issues should stay indoors and avoid exposing themselves to the smoke from these wildfires.
While it may be difficult to follow the guidance above in our work, establishing a work-rest regimen like that which we follow for Heat Stress prevention is the best safety measure we have. Anyone with respiratory health issues should consult their physician if they have questions.