Inclement Weather: Air Quality Issues

Wildfire season in Oregon can negatively affect air quality. On such occasions, the university typically maintains regular operations with no change to work or class schedules. Standard procedures apply for weather-related notifications such as cancellation, delayed start, and early closure decisions when the university deems a change to normal operations necessary.


Safety and Risk Services (SRS) provides guidance and resources for air quality and wildfire smoke. Supervisors and employees should prepare for these conditions by reviewing the safety sheet and completing the online training SRS provides. 

Air quality and Wildfire Smoke Exposure
Guidance and Resources


During periods of poor air quality:

  • Communicate with your supervisor if you have concerns about your workspace or assignments during periods of poor air quality.
  • Report a work-related injury or illness as a result of heat exposure to your supervisor and submit a Workplace Injury Report.
  • If you miss work because of personal illness resulting from poor local air quality or because you must provide care for immediate family members who are ill, you may use available sick leave as normal. Visit the time off webpage for more information about use of other leave.
  • If your usual work location is closed or you are unable to travel to campus safely due to the poor air quality and there are duties that you can perform remotely, you should do so, with written approval from your supervisor or under a remote work agreement.

Public health agencies may issue air quality advisories that recommend avoiding strenuous outdoor activities, or even recommend that those in sensitive populations remain indoors. Advisories may include information about the possible effectiveness of certain respirators. Please see your supervisor if you would like to voluntarily use an N95 respirator. They can direct you to the required training and where to get an N95 respirator. Additional air quality information can be found on the Safety and Risk Services website


  • Adjust assignments to minimize strenuous activity and outdoor exposure. Refer to the wildfire smoke guidance below for instructions for times of poor air quality.
  • Allow for extra breaks and hydration.
  • If the work and equipment (such as a laptop and mobile phone) allow, be flexible in work locations. Allow employees to work in a more comfortable building (like the EMU) or from home.
  • If feasible, allow employees to use their accrued vacation leave.
  • If your employees cannot safely work on campus or if the university closes due to inclement air quality, and they have duties that can be performed from a remote location, assign them this work in writing.
  • Contact Human Resources at before sending employees home and before telling them there is no work.

Wildfire Smoke Exposure

UO uses the Wildfire Smoke Air Quality Guidance, issued by Safety and Risk Services in 2022, for UO-hosted outdoor events and activities during times of diminished air quality due to wildfire smoke.

Oregon OSHA adopted rules to reduce the likelihood of employees having a wildfire smoke related illness or injury. Please take the online training to understand your role in preventing injuries and illnesses from wildfire smoke exposure.


Please contact your direct supervisor or department director with any questions. Employee questions may also be directed to the Human Resources Service Center at 541-346-3159 or by email at Questions regarding safety can be directed to Safety and Risk Services at