Wildfires pose many challenges for hospitals — evacuating patients, employee concerns for the safety of their family members, and exposure to wildfire smoke. As reported previously in CHA News, Cal/OSHA recently adopted emergency regulations governing employer obligations to employees exposed to wildfire smoke when the air quality index reaches 151.
The obligations include informing employees that air quality has been compromised and that respiratory protection is available. They cover individuals working outside as well as indoors in a worksite that does not have a mechanical ventilation system to filter the air. Additional obligations arise when the air quality index reaches 300.
A recent Cal/OSHA press release on the wildfire smoke protection regulations details provides a good opportunity for all hospitals — regardless of whether they are in a poor air quality area — to review policies and procedures to ensure compliance with this regulation.