Huntington Beach, CA, August 14th, 2019
With the frequency and severity of wildfires in California increasing over the past several years, many of the state’s residents have been impacted. While some have tragically lost homes and businesses to wildfires, many others have had to deal with exposure to wildfire smoke, ash and residues that can travel great distances from the actual fire.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued a proposed emergency regulation earlier this year where they were looking to address how workers exposed to wildfire smoke could be better protected. “Protection from Wildfire Smoke” specifically seeks to safeguard both indoor and outdoor workers from exposure to elevated levels of particulate matter (PM) created by wildfires. On July 30th, Cal/OSHA announced that emergency regulation has become effective through January 28, 2020, with two possible 90 day extensions.
The regulation is based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) and requires employers to check the current and future index for conditions where PM 2.5 is 151 or greater. PM2.5 (solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in air with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller) are ultrafine inhalable particles that could reach deep into the lungs. While there are exceptions to the proposal, the regulation also requires employers to take action, under certain conditions, to measure PM 2.5 levels at the worksite (employers could use a direct-reading particulate monitor to determine PM 2.5 levels). Other requirements include controlling harmful worker exposures through training, education, engineering and administrative controls, and providing suitable respirators when PM 2.5 levels reach 151 or greater.
“With so many workers exposed to wildfire smoke each year in California, this emergency regulation is an important step in protecting their wellbeing,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “At LA Testing we support these efforts and are pleased to offer air testing, air monitoring equipment – including particulate meters capable of measuring PM 2.5, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE). With multiple laboratories across California, our air testing and monitoring experts can help companies and institutions protect their employees from exposure hazards associated with inhaling wildfire smoke and other fine particulate matter.”
To learn more about testing for particulate matter, smoke or soot residues, or for access to air monitoring instruments, respirators and other PPE, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. To access indoor environmental quality (IEQ) test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.