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Nevada OSHA adds wildfire exposure guidance for outdoor workers

Tahoe Wildfire
AP Photo/Noah Berger

In this Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 file photo, a sign in Eldorado County, Calif., warns motorists about the closure of Highway 50, which is shut down in both directions due to the Caldor Fire.

OSHA Nevada is adding wildfire smoke exposure guidance. 

Wildfire smoke is known to regularly blanket broad regions of Nevada. Smoke from wildfires directly impacts both indoor and outdoor air quality, as it's composed of small particles suspended in the air that present a health hazard for workers exposed to it.

These particles can irritate the lungs and have a range of potentially serious health effects, from permanently reduced lung function to heart failure.

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Employers are urged to monitor working conditions at any location where their employees are performing work to identify hazards that are causing or are likely to cause harm to their employees, and to implement effective methods to control those hazards.

At this time, neither Nevada OSHA nor the federal OSHA program have disseminated enforceable standards that define outdoor air quality requirements, exposure limits or work stoppage requirements.

OSHA Nevada said when air quality is affected by wildfire smoke, employers should consider implementing safety procedures, provide training and determine when respiratory protection is needed.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.