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  • Writer's pictureAlexandria Bakken

Breathing Problems?

With the recent fires burning in BC, there has been a substantial influx of smoke into Alberta. We are seeing air quality readings at the poorest they have ever been documented, and many are struggling from respiratory problems due to such poor air.

What does this mean for you? Your workers? Your family? What are the controls?

- Poor air quality can lead to more stress on workers and certain equipment. It is imperative to worker health and safety, and the operations of a business, to identify what tasks are crucial and what tasks can wait until there is better air quality. Can a more strenuous task wait?

- Does anyone already suffer from breathing illness, such as asthma or COPD? Are they experiencing issues? It is important to talk to all workers and let them know when air conditions are poor to take those extra breaks. If they require an inhaler (puffer) to keep it on them at all times. As an employer, ensure they have their inhalers with them, and ensure they are working near others at all times.

- Respiratory protection??? Smoke is defined as a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air. Particulates are measured in PPM (parts per million). If you, or someone you know is have problems breathing, a NIOSH N-95 disposable respirator (dust mask) may greatly help any respiratory problems. Choosing a disposable respirator with an exhalation valve is also a good idea to increase wearer comfort and reduce stress on the respiratory system.

It is imperative during these times to discuss conditions with workers, have that two-way communication, and ensure that workers and even your family and friends are not pushing themselves too hard when air quality is poor.

For more information, contact Alex at 780-812-5215

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