Mitch Steiger is a legislative advocate at the California Labor Federation. Email him at





CA Passes Emergency Rule Protecting Workers Exposed to Smoke from Wildfires

California’s wildfires may continue to worsen, but our ability to protect ourselves from their worst impacts doesn’t have to. That was the goal in mind behind a new regulation, adopted last week, to better protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke-related hazards. On July 18th, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (OSHSB) unanimously approved emergency regulatory language to […]

Important information for workers in areas affected by wildfires

We’ve been hearing reports that many are being forced to work outdoors—in areas directly affected by the fires—with no respirators or masks of any kind. Given the extremely harmful air quality caused by these catastrophic fires, such activity is completely unacceptable and likely a direct violation of an employer’s legal responsibility to protect workers from known hazards. In addition, given the unprecedented number of structures burned, the chemical makeup of this air is potentially even more harmful than that usually seen in wildfire-afflicted regions.