Note: The information provided in this news release was only applicable during the 2021 fire season and is provided as a historical reference. Oregon OSHA is no longer coordinating the distribution of filtering facepiece respirators and has adopted permanent wildfire smoke rules that only allow for the use of NIOSH-approved respirators for exposure to wildfire smoke.
Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA is working with several partners to distribute hundreds of thousands of particulate respirators to employers to help protect their workers in light of their new obligations under an emergency wildfire smoke rule.
The division is working with the Oregon Homebuilders Association, the Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter, and Hoffman Construction to create distribution sites for employers to obtain free KN-95 and N-95 particulate respirators. At the same time, Oregon OSHA is coordinating with the Oregon Department of Agriculture on the distribution of such respirators to agricultural employers.
The work remains under way. Future updates will be
available online. The following is a current list of contact information for partners who are helping distribute respirators at certain locations:
Oregon Homebuilders Association
- Jordan Schultz
- 503-378-9066, ext. 2
- Hours of operation: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter
Hoffman Construction (Portland-area only)
- Robyn Sims
- Interested people need to call or email for confirmation of pickup; open hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).
Meanwhile, Oregon State University Extension offices continue to support Oregon’s farmers and ranchers by offering free particulate respirators around the state. Find a local office at:
While the state’s supplies last, the particulate respirators are intended to be distributed to employers when wildfire smoke events trigger Oregon OSHA’s emergency temporary rule. The maximum number of respirators allowed to be received is four per employee.
Oregon OSHA’s rule applies to employers whose employees are – or will be – exposed to wildfire smoke where the ambient air concentration for the fine particulate matter (also known as PM2.5) is at or above an
Air Quality Index (AQI) 101, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Sensitive groups include people with lung and heart problems; children younger than 18 and adults older than 65; pregnant women; and people with diabetes.
Oregon OSHA encourages a careful reading of the
temporary wildfire smoke rule, which took effect Aug. 9 and remains in effect for 180 days. The division offers free and confidential
technical advice – involving no citations, no penalties, and no fault – to help employers understand the requirements.
Moreover, Oregon OSHA provides
free online training to help employers meet certain training requirements found in the temporary wildfire smoke rule. The training is available in
Spanish. Topics covered include the importance, limitations, and benefits of using a particulate respirator, and how to properly wear one.
For the 2021 season, KN-95 particulate respirators previously approved under federal emergency use authorization can be substituted for respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for exposures below AQI 499. For exposures of AQI 500 and above, NIOSH-approved respirators (what are commonly known as N-95s) must be used.
There are counterfeit KN-95 respirators on the market, so it is important to choose one from the list of models that Oregon OSHA considers acceptable for substitution during the 2021 season. To review the list, visit
Filtering respirators acceptable for use in Oregon under temporary rule protecting workers against wildfire smoke.
Workers have a
right to a safe and healthy workplace. That includes the right to raise concerns
free from retaliation and to
file a complaint with Oregon OSHA.
Consultation, technical advice, educational and other resources
Oregon OSHA offers
free resources – involving no citations, no penalties, and no fault – to help employers comply with workplace health and safety requirements. They include:
Consultation services – Provides free and confidential help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training
Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements and how to apply them to their worksites
Also, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which includes Oregon OSHA, maintains the Multicultural Communications Program that provides outreach to communities with limited English proficiency. That outreach encompasses information about on-the-job safety and health. The program includes a toll-free phone number for Spanish speakers: 800-843-8086.
Other resources include: