With the current air quality ratings across the province, we have reviewed our Zanzibar Air Quality procedures which were following the provincial guidelines. We have reviewed our SOP and have added more definitions as to threshold levels and safe work procedures and controls when dealing with Air Quality. These procedures, controls, and air quality threshold levels are outlined below to assist project leads in managing operations in these smoky conditions.
Currently, there are no industry-wide shutdown criteria for forestry in reference to air quality and Zanzibar has been relying on provincial government recommendations as to safe work procedures while monitoring the provincial AQI air quality index.
Jordan Tesluk (Safety advocate with BCFSC) is working on providing updated recommendations industry-wide. He suggests monitoring the PM2.5 measurement of fine air particulates as this is a generally accurate measurement, and it is possible to get accurate data from geographical locations. It uses a different scale than the AQI scale Zanzibar was relying on prior. With the PM2.5 measurements generally anything over 40 is getting into the unhealthy category and anything over 100 is very unhealthy and should have work operations shut down when reaching this threshold. – see the table below for the air quality index range and appropriate controls for if/when air quality levels reach these thresholds.
Jordan has suggested the use of the application, Windy to monitor air quality:
To activate the air quality layer in Windy, select “air quality” on the legend on the right-hand side, sub-category PM2.5. This will provide an air quality reading of micrograms per cubic meter.
Select the area on the map where your crews are operating to get a reading for that area.
Readings do seem to vary across different platforms and cross-referencing can be useful. Windy is the platform we have decided to use company-wide (as per Jordan’s recommendations) to determine PM 2.5 air quality with the following as outlined controls/ response plans with different air quality levels:
Zanzibar Air Quality Health Advisory Response Plan
These outlined controls, recommendations, and shutdown thresholds are to be followed until we receive further recommendations from Zanzibar JOHSC or industry standards are brought forward.
Documentation of Air quality and check-in with workers should be documented on Day sheets
Zanzibar has also updated our ERP in 2022 when dealing with heat and shutdown thresholds that can be found in the Zanzibar ERP booklet or in the 2023 Zanzibar Health and Safety Manual which take into account heat and humidity and safe work procedures.
Just a reminder that smoke and heat do affect all workers differently and to remind workers that they do have the right to refuse work if they feel that there are workplace hazards present.