California has just passed a new bill that would require employers in the state to provide their workers with respirators during a wildfire while working outdoors. This comes after California experienced one of the worst years on record for wildfires, endangering residents and workers throughout the state. Wildfire smoke is full of dangerous toxins that can reduce lung function, cause cancer, increase the risk of heart disease, and even lead to death. California State Assembly Bill AB1124 is expected to go into effect on July 18, 2019.
Employers throughout the state of California should familiarize themselves with this new bill, so they can better protect their workers during a wildfire and comply with state laws.
What’s Included in California State Assembly Bill AB1124?
California State Assembly Bill AB1124 requires all employers in the state to provide N95 respirators for employees when they’re working outdoors during a wildfire. This will help employers keep their staff safe during an active wildfire so they don’t expose themselves to toxic wildfire smoke.
The state will enforce these emergency regulations when a wildfire is present in the area. State regulators are required to use Air Quality Indexes (AQIs) to determine what level of wildfire smoke is harmful to the public. The bill will also extend the effective period of an emergency regulation from 180 days to a full year, making sure employers keep their employees safe long after the wildfire has been extinguished. Ash and other remnants of a wildfire can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, skin, and lungs.
The passage of this bill comes after one of the worst wildfire seasons on record in California. The state experienced 7,571 wildfires in 2018 alone, burning 1,700,000 million acres of land. The Camp Fire at the end of 2018 was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, resulting in 85 casualties and destroying over 18,000 buildings. State regulators are doing more to protect California outdoor workers during a wildfire to make sure 2018 doesn’t repeat itself.
Protecting Workers During a Wildfire
California’s wildfire season comes in two stages. The first stage is affected by the wind, which can quickly spread wildfire from one region of the state to another. This stage runs from October to April. The second stage has to do with the state’s intense heat, running from June to September. Summer wildfires tend to last longer, but they burn slower and less intensely due to low winds. Some cities across the state have wildfire warnings in place year round. As more wildfires appear across the state, we could see longer wildfire seasons in the future as more areas go on high alert.
CA employers need to comply with the state’s newest wildfire regulations by providing N95 respirators to their employees while an emergency regulation is in effect. To prepare for wildfires and these new emergency regulations, employers need to invest in N95 respirators to make sure they can protect their employees during an active wildfire.
The Moldex 4800 Airwave N95 Plus Relief From Organic Vapors features a full face foam seal with a smart strap, helping staff members breathe easier and stay cool and comfortable in the field. The 3M three-panel FlatFold Respirator N95 9210 is also a great choice when it comes to protecting workers from wildfire smoke. It features a sleek, subtle profile that can be used in combination with other safety equipment. It’s also collapse-resistant for more protection in the field. Employers can quickly dispense these respirators in the field to keep their employees safe at all times.
Employers also need to invest in proper respiratory storage equipment, such as the Moldex Respirator Locker with 2300N95 M/L Respirator, which protects respirators when they’re not in use to prevent premature respiratory disposal.
Professionals at PK Safety
California State Assembly Bill AB1124 is being hailed as a victory for work safety advocates. These new regulations will help keep employees safe in the field during a wildfire. For more information on complying with these regulations and choosing the right N95 respirator for your business, contact the professionals at PK Safety.