Wildfire Smoke Workplace Safety & Health Rulemaking

L&I received a petition and is considering adding new wildfire smoke in the workplace rules to Chapter 296-62, WAC, General Occupational Health Standards. See all the rulemaking activity for wildfire smoke on our L&I Rulemaking page.

Status

L&I has filed the Preproposal (CR-101) to start the formal process for this permanent rulemaking. An emergency rule filing, separate from the permanent rulemaking, was adopted July 16, 2021, and is effective 7/16/21 through 11/13/2021.

Learn more about our rulemaking process and terminology.

Background

L&I recognizes the hazard of wildfire smoke exposure is increasing every year and is now potentially presenting important health risks to all outdoor workers including those in construction and agriculture. One other state has adopted temporary and permanent workplace safety and health rules regarding wildfire smoke.

L&I has received a petition for rulemaking on this topic as well. As suggested by a petitioner, in the midst of widespread wildfires and a global pandemic, workers continue to perform essential duties. It is imperative that significant steps be taken to ensure the protection of these workers, especially given the increasing intensity of wildfire outbreaks over the years and the likelihood that they will continue in years to come.

Wildfire smoke presents hazards that employers and workers in affected regions must understand. Smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases and fine particles that can harm health. Proper protective equipment, exposure controls, and training are needed for employees working in wildfire regions.

Some of the issues that may be addressed are:

  • Identification of harmful exposures;
  • Communication;
  • Training and instruction;
  • Control of harmful exposures
Meetings & Timeline Rule Drafts & Documents

Emergency Rule

Stakeholder Drafts

Wildfire Smoke Rule Draft June 15, 2021 (Written Comments are due by June 29, 2021)

Wildfire Smoke Rule Draft - Spanish (Written Comments are due by June 29, 2021)

The Preproposal (CR-101) was filed October 20, 2020. 

At this time, draft language is still being developed. Sign up for our email updates to receive notification when this draft language becomes available.

Additional Resources

Some of the key resources that were considered during the development of draft rule.

  • Delfino et al. (2009). The relationship of respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions to the southern California wildfires of 2003. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 66(3), 189-197.
  • Doubleday et al. (2020). Mortality associated with wildfire smoke exposure in Washington state, 2006-2017: a case-crossover study. Environmental Health 19(1).
  • Gan et al. (2017). Comparison of wildfire smoke estimation methods and associations with cardiopulmonary related hospital admissions. GeoHealth 1(3), 122-136.
  • Haikerwal et al. (2015). Impact of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) exposure during wildfires on cardiovascular health outcomes. Journal of the American Heart Association 4(7).
  • Liu et al. (2019). Ambient particulate air pollution and daily mortality in 652 cities. New England Journal of Medicine 381(8), 705-715.
  • Orellano et al. (2020). Short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International. 142.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019). Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter. Office of Research and Development.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (2020). Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter

Staff Contacts:

For rulemaking questions, please contact:
Cindy Ireland Cynthia.Ireland@Lni.wa.gov or 360-791-5048.

For Technical questions, please contact:
Chris Pyke Christopher.Pyke@Lni.wa.gov  or 360-951-3489
Dr. Nicholas Reul Nicholas.Reul@Lni.wa.gov  or 360-902-5963

Get updates via email

If you would like to receive updates regarding this proposed rulemaking project and future stakeholder meetings, please sign up for our email updates.