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Working in Poor Air Conditions

  • 17 August 2018
  • Author: Safety Ahead
  • Number of views: 9474
Working in Poor Air Conditions

British Columbia has declared a state of emergency due to the almost 600 wildfires that are plaguing the province. Hot, dry weather conditions have made the situation worse, along with lightning strikes causing even more fires to add to the problem.

The smoke from the BC fires has been pushing into Alberta creating very poor air quality and air advisory warnings from Environment Canada to be issued. The Air Quality Health Index indicates that air quality is forecast as a 10 (High Risk) on August 17, and 9 overnight. Moving into the weekend it should drop to a moderate risk of 5.

Environment Canada recommends reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if possible. People, especially the elderly and children, may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, dry/burning eyes, and headaches. People with pre-existing conditions such as COPD, heart conditions and asthma may experience symptoms that are worse than normal.

During poor air quality conditions please see the following suggestions:

  • Limit outdoor activities as much as possible. Reschedule activities for days with a low risk rating.
  • Do not exercise outdoors, try going to a gym or indoor facility to limit exposure to smokey air.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to prevent outdoor air from coming inside as much as possible.
  • Turn off air conditioning units that pull air from outdoors into the building.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities whenever possible.
  • Limit outdoor time for children and limit the activities to prevent heavy breathing when outside.
  • Ensure to take all medications as prescribed for medical conditions, such as COPD, heart conditions and asthma, to control symptoms as much as possible.
  • If symptoms from poor air quality persist or become increasing worse over time without improvement, seek medical attention.
  • Reschedule outdoor work activities for another day or another time with a lower AQHI rating.
  • Take regular scheduled breaks if you must work outdoors and limit strenuous activities, such as manual lifting, for another day of possible.
  • Wear respiratory protection as required. Ensure a Respiratory Code of Practice is in place and has been reviewed with affected workers.


We at Safety Ahead hold the people effected by the wildfires in our thoughts and hope the situation in BC can be controlled soon.


For information on how to develop a Respiratory Code of Practice, please call us at Safety Ahead for assistance! 780-473-4772!


Information and Photo Credits :

  • Global News
  • Environment Canada

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