Assembly Ag Chair Robert Rivas of Hollister has co-authored a bill that would charge Cal/OSHA with establishing a stockpile of N95 respirators to deploy to farmworkers working under wildfire smoke.

Without adequate protections, our farmworkers risk lifelong debilitating illnesses,” he said in a statement.

The bill would require agricultural employers to furnish regional offices of the a division of the Department of Industrial Relations with employee totals, by month, to ensure that adequate amounts of N95 respirators are stockpiled. The bill would grant these agricultural employers access to the regional stockpiles during wildfire smoke emergencies, unless the agricultural employer failed to register their employee totals.

Strike teams in regional Cal/OSHA offices would distribute the masks to employers. The team would be required to have the stockpile established by the beginning 2023. The bill would also require “refresher training” during smoke emergencies and prior to the distribution of the respirators.

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