5 ways to prepare your workplace for smoke season
Wildfire season is coming. Here’s how to prepare your business.
posted June 13, 2019
Wildfires are getting bigger, lasting longer, and happening more often in Oregon and across the western United States. In addition to the immediate harm from the fire itself, hazardous smoke travels well beyond the fire lines, putting people and businesses at risk.
“Smoke has become a more significant workplace risk as wildfires are larger and more frequent,” said Kim Henry, industrial hygienist at SAIF. “We want to make sure we reduce the risk of complications for Oregon's workforce.”
Henry offers five ways to make sure your workplace is better prepared:
- Include wildfire smoke events in your emergency response plans.
- Monitor fire and smoke risk in your area. One resource is DEQ's Air Quality Index.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Check filters on HVAC units and change when needed. Recirculate air instead of bringing in outdoor air, and keep windows and doors closed.
- Consider supplying filtering facepiece respirators, such as N-95 or N-100, for voluntary short-term use. (Provide information from OSHA before use.)
- Plan how to get employees to safer locations, or when to release them before situations worsen.
Remember, people who work outdoors, have respiratory conditions or cardiovascular disease, smoke, or are pregnant have a higher risk of health impacts.
Find more tips for preparing your business—before, during, and after wildfire season.
SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page.