Protecting Workers Exposed to Smoke from Wildfires

Smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases, and fine particles that can harm health. The greatest hazard comes from breathing fine particles, which can reduce lung function, worsen asthma and other existing heart and lung conditions, and cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

To protect workers exposed to wildfire smoke, employers must consider taking the following measures as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Program under Title 8 section 3203 of the California Code of Regulations and as required under section 5141 (Control of Harmful Exposure to Employees):

  1. Engineering controls whenever feasible (for example, using a filtered ventilation system in indoor work areas)
  2. Administrative controls if practicable (for example, limiting the time that employees work outdoors)
  3. Providing employees with respiratory protective equipment, such as disposable filtering facepieces (dust masks).
    • To filter out fine particles, respirators must be labeled N-95, N-99, N-100, R-95, P-95, P-99, or P-100, and must be labeled approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
    • Approved respiratory protective equipment is necessary for employees working in outdoor locations designated by local air quality management districts as "Unhealthy," "Very Unhealthy," or "Hazardous."

For instructions on using filtering facepieces, see "Using Disposable Respirators" in English and Spanish.

N95 respirator masks are available at the following County Emergency Operations Centers. Please refer to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services December 2017 Wildfires webpage for updates.

Santa Barbara County
Costco in the Camino Real Marketplace 7095 Market Pl Drive
Goleta
Santa Barbara County
Franklin Community Center
1136 East Montecito Street
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County
Albertson’s in Carpinteria
1018 Casitas Pass Road
Carpinteria
Santa Barbara County
Montecito
Lower Village
1400 block of E. Valley Road
Montecito
Ventura County
Santa Paula Community Center
530 W Main St
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Ventura County
Ventura County Fair –
Red Cross Shelter
10 W. Harbor Blvd
Ventura, CA 93004
Ventura County
Beth Torah Temple
7620 Foothill Road
Ventura, CA 93004
Ventura County
Oxnard College Gymnasium –
Red Cross Shelter
4000 S Rose Ave
Oxnard, CA 93033
Ventura County
Nordhoff High School
1401 Maricopa Hwy
Ojai, CA 93023
Ventura County
Ojai Valley Community Hospital
1306 Maricopa Highway
Ojai, CA 93023

Resources

Worker Safety and Health During Fire Cleanup

December 2017