Wildfire Smoke (Chapter 296-62 WAC)Stakeholder Meeting on Rulemaking
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
DOSH will conduct two meetings on August 10, one in the afternoon (1pm) and one in the evening (6pm). We hope that by hosting the meetings at different times of the day, we will be able to provide flexibility for different schedules and availability, and therefore maximize stakeholder participation. All materials covered by DOSH will be identical in both meetings. While it is not necessary for stakeholders to attend both meetings, you are certainly welcome to do so.
Attendees will need to register at this link for the afternoon meeting:
Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email and calendar item with your personal meeting link or phone number and the password. On the day/time of the meeting, you will need to click on that link or call, enter the appropriate password and then you will be in virtual attendance. (Note: please check spam or junk mail for this confirmation email as it will be coming from Zoom.)
L&I will provide Spanish translation services through the Zoom link via interpreter. Once logging in, select the “Globe” at the bottom in the row of icons. This will allow you to select “English” or “Spanish”. Select Spanish and you will be connected to the interpreter.
The Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH) of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is conducting permanent rulemaking to address hazards associated with the inhalation of wildfire smoke.
Wildfire Smoke Rulemaking Overview:
L&I recognizes that the hazards of wildfire smoke exposure are increasing every year and present potential health risks to outdoor workers, including those in construction and agriculture. PM2.5, or fine particulate matter, is the primary pollutant in wildfire smoke. PM2.5 can cause serious respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. Proper protective equipment and training are essential for worker safety in regions that experience wildfire smoke.
Given the serious hazard that wildfire smoke poses, L&I believes that permanent rules are necessary to protect outdoor workers. L&I has also received a petition to conduct this rulemaking. Accordingly, we are in the process of developing permanent rules. California and Oregon have adopted permanent wildfire smoke rules to protect worker safety and health.
August 10, 2022 Meeting Specifics:
These stakeholder meetings will provide an opportunity for DOSH to solicit feedback from stakeholders on thresholds for required use of respiratory protection for the permanent wildfire smoke rule. Types of respirators that may be considered for protection against PM2.5 in wildfire smoke include NIOSH-certified respirators, such as N95 filtering facepiece respirators and half mask elastomeric respirators with particulate filters. Respiratory protection program elements, including medical evaluations, fit-testing, written programs, and employee training, will also be discussed at these stakeholder meetings.
Additional stakeholder meetings will be held in September or early October to review a draft of the permanent rule. L&I is committed to providing employers with clear direction on how to protect their workers from unhealthy wildfire smoke exposures during work activities, including how to provide appropriate respiratory protection.
Rule Development Process:
• L&I filed a CR-101 (Preproposal Statement of Inquiry) on October 20, 2020 and has held multiple stakeholder meetings to discuss both permanent and emergency rulemaking.
• Please visit the Wildfire Smoke stakeholder page for previous meeting summaries.
• An emergency rule was in place for the 2021 wildfire smoke season.
• Another emergency rule is currently in place, which went into effect on June 15, 2022, and will expire on September 29, 2022.
• With the emergency wildfire smoke rule in place, L&I continues to develop a permanent rule for hazards associated with the inhalation of wildfire smoke in the workplace. L&I anticipates completing permanent rulemaking by summer 2023.
Please contact Cindy Ireland or David Gaw with any rulemaking or meeting questions.
Please contact Chris Pyke or Dr. Nicholas Reul with any technical questions about this rule.
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