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Department of Labor encourages limited outdoor work while air quality health advisories in effect


Wed, Jun 7th 2023 07:25 pm

Following Canadian wildfires, division of worker protection encourages employers limit or suspend outdoor work in impacted regions

The New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Worker Protection today released an announcement encouraging employers located in regions with air quality health advisories in effect to limit outdoor work and activities that require exertion. Industries with workers who may be especially susceptible to the impacts of the Canadian wildfire smoke exposure include farming and agriculture, construction, landscaping, highway maintenance, and other fields that require outdoor heavy-exertion labor.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released an air quality health advisory for the following regions:

  • Long Island
  • New York City metro
  • Hudson Valley
  • Adirondacks
  • Eastern Lake Ontario
  • Central New York

The DEC’s air quality hotline is available 1-800-535-1345 for the latest information.

A press release stated, “The New York State Department of Health recommends that all New Yorkers limit strenuous outdoor activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects. People who are especially sensitive to the effects of elevated levels of pollutants, including the very young and those with pre-existing respiratory problems such as heart disease or asthma, should avoid spending time outdoors, if possible.

Workers who are sick or become sick as a result of smoke exposure, can inform their employers and use any paid sick leave accruals available. New York’s paid sick leave law requires employers with five or more employees or net income of more than $1 million to provide paid sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less are required to provide unpaid sick leave to employees.”

For more information on the impacts of wildfire smoke on workers, find resources from the EPA, CDC and OSHA.

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