Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted effective July 1, 2022, permanent rules to protect workers from unhealthy or hazardous levels of wildfire smoke.

The Oregon OSHA Protection from Wildfire Smoke rules apply to Oregon State University and all employers whose employees may be exposed to wildfire smoke where the ambient air concentration for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is at or above 35.5 ug/m3 (Air Quality Index [AQI] value of 101 for PM2.5). These rules follow temporary OSHA rules established last summer in response to frequent large-scale wildfire events across the western United States. 

The following employees are exempt from this Wildfire Smoke standard: 
•    Employees working in enclosed buildings, structures and vehicles in which air is filtered by a mechanical ventilation system, and when exterior openings are kept closed, except when it is necessary to briefly open doors to enter or exit a building.
•    Employees whose supervisors have suspended operations to prevent employee exposure to wildfire smoke levels at or above AQI 101.
•    Employees working at home.

Employees with intermittent exposure to wildfire smoke are partially exempt. This includes those working in activities with less than 15 minutes exposure in an hour to wildfire smoke levels at AQI 101, for a total exposure of less than one hour in a single 24-hour period.  Intermittent employee exposure requires employees be provided information and training listed below and for employers to provide NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators for voluntary use.  

Key requirements of the OSHA standard are provided on this fact sheet and include:
•    Monitor air quality. Supervisors shall monitor air quality within OSU campuses utilizing the EH&S Wildfire Smoke/Air Quality webpage.  Air quality status is also available by checking the DEQ Wildfire website or the  EPA AirNow Fire and Smoke Map website.  
•    Provide training. Annual training is required for employees exposed to wildfire smoke levels at or above AQI 101. Oregon OSHA Wildfire Smoke Training can be found under the Occupational Health and Safety section of the Training/Course Directory menu in EH&S SciShield
•    Provide respirators. Supervisors must provide NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators for voluntary use when the AQI is at or above 101 and mandatory use when the AQI is at or above 251. Respirators are available free of charge for university employees. Orders can be placed using Resumption Supplies Orders in OSU Surplus Property. Respirators are also available at OSU Chemistry Stores.
•    Exposure controls. Use engineering controls to reduce employee exposure (such as providing enclosed workspaces in buildings, structures, or vehicles in which the air is adequately filtered) or administrative controls (such as relocating work locations for employees or changing work schedules) to reduce exposures when the AQI is at or above 101. The rules do not specify a preference between the two approaches so the supervisor can choose the most feasible measures to reduce exposure.
•    Implement two-way communication system. A two-way communication system must be used to communicate wildfire smoke information between supervisors and employees. Such information includes any changes in the air quality at the work location that would necessitate an increase or decrease in the level of exposure controls. The two-way communication must also allow employees to report health symptoms from wildfire smoke exposure that could necessitate medical attention. The means to share information may include, but are not limited to, in-person, cell phone and two-way radio communication.

Air Quality Index (AQI) AQI Decision Matrix

Wildfires in Oregon and on the West Coast can result in smoke and poor air quality in the Willamette Valley. Air pollution levels are measured by the Air Quality Index — or AQI — which includes gases and particulate matter. The higher the levels on the AQI, the greater the potential health risks.

To monitor local air quality at the Corvallis campus, Oregon State University has installed three AQI monitoring stations at Bates Hall, Sports Performance Center, and Tebeau Hall. Additional off-campus AQI monitoring stations are located at Tykeson Hall - Cascades Campus and at the Gladys Valley Marine Sciences Building – Newport.

Additional monitoring stations operated by governmental agencies are also located throughout the state as indicated on the OpenMap below. You can scroll through the OpenMap and click on the circle (denoting each air monitoring station) for the geographical area you are interested in.

For OSU Extension and other affiliated locations, a full Western US wildfire map can be viewed as well.

Building Ventilation and Filtration

 Building ventilation is most often controlled through the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) by adding fresh, outside air. OSU's approach to ventilation and filtration is to add as much outside air as possible, but ventilation depends on the building's HVAC system. 

OSU’s buildings can be divided into three types:

  • Buildings without mechanical ventilation
  • Buildings with modern mechanical ventilation
  • Buildings with partial mechanical ventilation

Building Ventilation Status

  • A.A Red Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory
  • Asian & Pacific Cultural Center
  • ATAMI, HP Building 11
  • Austin Hall
  • Beth Ray Center For Academic Support
  • Burt Hall - ECC- NW Bldg
  • Cascade Hall
  • Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez
  • CH2M Hill Alumni Center
  • Cordley Hall - Animals
  • Dixon Recreation Center
  • Energy Center
  • Gilbert Hall
  • Goss Stadium
  • Hallie E. Ford Center
  • Harris Black Cultural Center
  • Heckart Lodge
  • James E. Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility
  • Jefferson Street Building
  • John L. Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory - Salmon Disease Lab
  • Johnson Hall
  • Joyce Collin Furman Hall
  • Kearney Hall
  • Kelley Engineering Center
  • Lab Animal Resources Center
  • Langton Hall


  • Learning Innovation Center
  • Linus Pauling Science Center
  • Magruder Hall
  • McAlexander Fieldhouse
  • Memorial Union
  • Merritt Truax Indoor Center
  • Merryfield Hall
  • Milam Hall
  • Milne Computer Center
  • Nash Hall
  • Owen Hall
  • P. Wayne Valley Sports Performance Center
  • Peavy Hall
  • Radiation Center
  • Reed Lodge
  • Research Way Building
  • Reser Stadium
  • Richardson Hall
  • Strand Agriculture Hall
  • Student Experience Center
  • The Valley Library
  • Valley Football Center
  • Vet Research Lab
  • Waldo Hall
  • Weniger Hall
  • Western Building
  • Wilkinson Hall
  • Batcheller Hall
  • Child Care Center
  • Covell Hall
  • Clark Laboratory
  • Crew Facility
  • Dryden Hall
  • Gilbert Hall Addition
  • Gill Coliseum
  • Graf Hall
  • Kerr Administration Bldg
  • LaSells Stewart Center
  • Marine Science Lab
  • Moreland Hall
  • Oak Creek Building
  • Plageman Student Health Center
  • University Plaza
  • Withycombe Hall
  • Women's Building
  • Ballard Extension Hall
  • Bexell Hall
  • CEOAS Machine and Technical Development
  • Fairbanks Hall
  • Gilmore Hall
  • Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center
  • Hogg Animal Metabolism Laboratory
  • Motor Pool
  • Motor Pool Annex
  • Shepard Hall
  • Snell Hall
  • West Greenhouse

Air Quality Index and Health

The Air Quality Index helps people know when safety precautions are necessary. When air quality is in the green or yellow zones, few health effects are expected. When the AQI reaches the orange level, the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children. At red or higher, the air is unhealthy for everyone, even those with no prior health concerns. The likelihood of health problems is increased in the purple or maroon zone; the highest precautions are essential.

Those with chronic health conditions should closely watch their symptoms. Those with lung disease like asthma and COPD should especially monitor shortness of breath. Call your doctor or seek emergency medical care if symptoms worsen. 

Related to smoke events, a list of requirements for OSU employees contained within the Oregon OSHA permanent rule can be found here: Rules to Address Employee Exposure to Wildfire Smoke.

Summary of Requirements: Employees  -  Supervisors

Other air quality health Resources

Poor Air Quality Precautions On Campus  
Poor Air Quality Precautions Off Campus  
  • Stay inside.
  • Recirculate the air in your home's central heating/cooling system (shut off the fresh air intake) and make sure the filter has been recently changed.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Avoid vacuuming, burning candles or other activities that increase indoor air pollution. 
  • Avoid exertion and only exercise indoors.
  • If you must go outside, only do so if you have no prior health concerns and the AQI is no higher than the red zone. Limit outdoor time to 30 to 45 minutes. Also wear an N95 or alternative filtering facepiece respirator and make sure it fits very close to the face for best filtration.
Outside Work Guidelines
  • Follow Oregon OSHA's  Wildfire Smoke and Outside Work Activities Guidelines for employers who have employees working outside during poor air quality caused by wildfires.
  • If the AQI is above 150, please consider rescheduling the work or activity to a time when the air quality improves.
  • If the work cannot be rescheduled, N95 or alternative filtering facepiece respirators must be provided in accordance with Oregon OSHA guidelines.
  • Contact [email protected] for questions regarding respirators. See the Respiratory Protection Program for additional information.

Air Quality at Other OSU Locations