Wildfire smoke protections for outdoor workers


Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) updated the wildfire smoke exposure rules to address minimum requirements to prevent smoke particle-related illness and reduce serious symptoms for outdoor workers. The updated rules went into effect on January 15, 2024, and apply year-round.  

The updated rules include requirements for monitoring air quality conditions, communication of hazards, training, and development of a response plan to implement hazard controls and medical response for workers exposed to hazardous levels of wildfire smoke. sky filled with clouds and smoke

The rules apply to personnel performing work in an outdoor environment when the smoke particle level reaches an action level based on the current Air Quality Index (AQI). 

University units with personnel who work outdoors are required to plan, prepare, and train for wildfire smoke exposure symptoms: 

  1. Develop and implement a Wildfire Smoke Response Plan. Ensure a copy is made available to personnel.  
  2. Ensure personnel working outdoors complete the Wildfire Smoke Safety training course initially (upon hire or assignment of outdoor work) and annually thereafter. 
  3. Ensure supervisors of personnel working outdoors complete the Wildfire Smoke Safety training course.
  4. Provide personnel with exposure controls outlined in their unit’s Wildfire Smoke Response Plan.
  5. Observe and communicate with personnel.
  6. Know how to respond if personnel exhibit symptoms of wildfire smoke-related illness. 

Visit the Wildfire Smoke webpage for additional guidance, links to training, resources, and more information. 

Contact the Environmental Health & Safety Air Quality team with questions.