The country's largest construction union told members in Victoria to stop working outside as air quality in Melbourne reached very poor to hazardous on Tuesday.
But on the Border where smoke haze has become an annoying part of daily life, opinions were divided with many tradesmen thinking the move was unnecessary.
In Wodonga, the air quality reached a hazardous level, with the index peaking at 479 at 11am on Tuesday.
In Melbourne, the index peaked at a hazardous at 411 overnight into Tuesday, before settling and remaining very poor.
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union's North East organiser Mark Tait said he had advised Wodonga members they shouldn't be working outdoors.
He said the smoke could exacerbate respiratory issues.
"Guys on site deal with a lot of dust and hazardous materials and now intensive smoke, it can hinder breathing so if you're outdoors you need to be extra careful," he said.
Mr Tait said there should be some kind of protection in place so people who were self-employed could still step away and protect themselves without losing their income.
Neil Kreutzberger, who owns a fertiliser spreading business, said he'd been working outside by himself practically everyday through the recent smoky haze and he hadn't felt the need to take any precautions.
"I'm in it all the time but haven't had any issues," he said.
"I've started getting itchy skin at night, so I take an antihistamine for that, but I don't actually know if that's from the smoke. I've been feeling fine. It really hasn't had much impact at all."
Danny Cohen of Cohen Homes said his staff had masks and he would consider limiting outdoor time if the smoke got too bad, but at the moment no one was being impacted.
"The smoke's been pretty ordinary but I think we're used to it," he said.
"It hasn't really been affecting me at all, you just deal with it. When you're self employed you have to keep working."
Speaking at a community meeting in Myrtleford about the nearby Abbeyard bushfire, Linda Shields of the Department of Health and Human Services said that smoke could create serious health issues if someone was to be exposed for an extended period.
"This is very different smoke, this is not your barbecue smoke, this is not your campfire smoke, this is not your you've-opened-the-oven-and-overcooked-something smoke. This is really very dangerous," Ms Shields said at the meeting.
But guidelines around what employers should do to protect staff and at what point smoke is too dangerous to continue working outdoors is vague and differs state-to-state.
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A WorkSafe spokesman said in Victoria "employers must provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers," but could not answer specifics about what was expected of employers in relation to smoke.
A spokeswoman for SafeWork NSW said that businesses must manage health and safety risks to workers, "even if the environment created by bushfire smoke is not completely within their control".
The organisation recommends, if possible, work should be rescheduled or move indoors. If this is not possible, SafeWork recommends workers wear P2 masks.
A Wodonga council spokeswoman said the organisation was following EPA advice and monitoring conditions and had provided P2 masks to staff working outdoors.
"Outdoors staff are encouraged to start and finish early to beat the heat and haze, and staff can take days off under standard time-in-lieu arrangements as we do for hot or wet days," she said.
"If required, planning is in place to allow staff that need to undertake alternative duties in air-conditioned plant and offices."
Across the border, Albury council has initiated a number of changes, chief executive Frank Zaknich said.
He said non-essential outdoor work has been deferred where possible and outdoor workers have been issued with P2 masks while mechanical aids are being used to minimise strenuous outdoor activity.