Poor air quality impacting outdoor workers

Dale Yurong Image
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Poor air quality impacting workers who are outdoors
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Poor air quality impacting workers who are outdoors

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Another challenging day with smoke from the Ferguson Fire added to our air quality problems.

Employers have grown used to taking heat precautions with their outdoor workers. But unhealthy air readings also required them to make protective masks available for workers dealing with bad air.

When you work outside you will find there is no escaping the heat or the bad air. But the guys at City Wash in central Fresno deal with it the best they can. Their shade structure has helped.

Louie Trujillo said, "Since we got the shade it's been alright. It's a lot cooler."

City Wash Manager Richard Hough added, "Air quality is really rough. It's making us work a little harder than we normally do. Ever think about putting on a mask? I would like to but no at this time. I don't want to frighten anyone."

A mask is actually a good idea but those who we saw working outside were much more prepared for the heat than the bad air.

Most people who toil in the smog didn't care to put on respirators.

Cal/OSHA issued an advisory for worker safety in wildfire regions but the smoke has now spread all over the state.

Employers are required to make masks available once the Air Quality Index reaches 151. Both Fresno and Visalia reached the unhealthy stage.

Cal/OSHA Sr. Safety Engineer David Hornung said, "If the air quality is such that quality that respirators are required if Cal/OSHA does come out and see that respirators are not being provided they may issue citations for that."

Valley farmers have been altering work schedules because of the heat but now you may see more farmworkers wearing masks because of the smoky air.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said it was, "No different than some of the heat illness prevention rules we have in place. Making sure we're paying special attention to those that are sensitive to these types of issues, making sure we work around the hours when possible."

PG&E indicated it made respirators available to employees who spend their day outside.