Cal/OSHA released guidance on strategies for optimizing the availability of respirators for wildfire smoke events, including the use of certain non-NIOSH approved respirators for situations where the Air Quality Index for PM 2.5 is at or below 175. Also, use of non-NIOSH approved respirators is now allowed without limitation when NIOSH approved respirators are not available for compliance with section 5141.1 during wildfire smoke events, due to severe shortages.
Prior to use, employers must ensure non-NIOSH approved respirators meet the criteria found in Cal/OSHA’s September 28, 2020 Interim Guidance for obtaining approval of non-NIOSH certified respirators.
For compliance with California’s Wildfire Smoke Rule, section 5141.1, Cal/OSHA will post on their wildfire webpage, a list of non-NIOSH certified respirators acceptable for use during severe shortage. Additionally, Cal/OSHA has developed a list of vendors who report available supplies of NIOSH approved N95 respirators, as well as government stockpiles that may be available through local Medical Health Operational Area Coordination (MHOAC) programs.