Prepare now for summer heat and wildfire season

This may seem early to those of us who have experienced “Junuary” in Bellingham, but recent events suggest it’s time to prepare.  

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is currently updating rules to protect outdoor workers from exposure to heat stress and wildfire smoke. Neither rule is currently in effect but, given our recent short heat wave, they bear consideration now. For more information here are links to their Be Heat Smart and Wildfire Smoke webpages. 

There are currently no established rules regarding heat or wildfire smoke for indoor workers. While the above webpages are geared toward outdoor workers with a certain level of exposure, they contain information that is useful to everyone. Covered workers will be provided specific training as required by the state. For the general campus, information on how to protect yourself can be found in the webpages linked above. If you are not certain if these rules apply to you ask your supervisor or contact Western's Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 360-650-3064 or  

Please note- EHS has no personal fans available for loan. Also, we have a limited number of air cleaners available, however they are reserved for emergent needs. If you are concerned about the need for fans or air cleaners, please begin discussions with your department now.