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Oregon OSHA adopts temporary rule codifying COVID-19 measures in workplaces

A temporary rule adopted by Oregon OSHA puts a finer point on the existing mandates from Governor Brown.

Posted: Nov 6, 2020 6:25 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A temporary rule recently adopted by Oregon OSHA puts in place a more comprehensive set of measures intended to reduce the spread of coronavirus at workplaces, the agency announced on Friday.

The rule takes effect on November 16 and is expected to last until May 4 of 2021. OSHA said that the rule is a "continuation" of existing Oregon Health Authority guidance, enforced by OSHA, that includes physical distancing, use of face coverings, and sanitation.

“We believe compliance with this rule will help reduce the serious threat to workers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “It does so by establishing a clear, practical, and consistent set of measures for employers.”

The rule now requires that businesses notify employees of a workplace infection, and requires that they provide training on how to reduce risks. Employers must also assess the risk of exposure, develop infection control plans, and address indoor air quality.

"Those measures – along with more requirements for exceptionally high-risk jobs, such as direct patient care – are part of Oregon OSHA’s ongoing enforcement and educational efforts to help protect workers from the coronavirus disease," the agency said in a statement.

OSHA says that it began developing the rule back in June through upwards of a dozen virtual forums on specific issues and industries, then developed a series of four drafts. Each draft included changes proposed by either employers or worker representatives, plus public feedback.

"Adoption of the temporary rule brings the requirements within the existing rulemaking authority of the Oregon Safe Employment Act," OSHA said. "The law governs workplace safety and health in Oregon, including protections for a worker’s right to raise on-the-job health and safety concerns free from retaliation."

OSHA says that it will provide resources for both businesses and workers to understand the requirements.

According to the agency, the temporary rule includes the following stipulations:

Physical distancing

  • Employers must ensure six-foot distancing between all people in the workplace through design of work activities and workflow, unless it can be shown it is not feasible for some activities.

Masks, face covering, or face shields

  • Employers must ensure that all individuals – including employees, part-time workers and customers – at the workplace, or other establishment under the employer’s control, wear a mask, face covering, or face shield in line with the Oregon Health Authority’s statewide guidance.
  • Employers must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees free of cost.
  • If an employee chooses to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering – even when it is not required – the employer must allow them to do so.
  • When employees are transported in a vehicle for work-related purposes, regardless of the travel distance or duration, all people inside the vehicle must wear a mask, face covering, or face shield. This requirement does not apply when all people in the vehicle are members of the same household.

Ventilation

  • Employers must maximize the effectiveness of existing ventilation systems, maintain and replace air filters, and clean intake ports providing fresh or outdoor air. The temporary rule does not require employers to purchase or install new ventilation systems.

Exposure risk assessment

  • Employers must conduct a risk assessment – a process that must involve participation and feedback from employees – to gauge potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize such exposure.

Infection control plan

  • Employers must develop an infection control plan addressing several elements, including when workers must use personal protective equipment and a description of specific hazard controls.

Information and training

  • Employers must provide information and training to workers about the relevant topics related to COVID-19. They must do so in a manner and language understood by workers.

Notification, testing, medical removal

  • Employers must notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related COVID-19 infection.
  • Employers must cooperate with public health officials if testing within the workplace is necessary.
  • If an employee must quarantine or isolate, the employer must follow proper work reassignment and return-to-work steps.

The rule requires more measures for exceptionally high-risk jobs. Such jobs include direct patient care or decontamination work; aerosol-generating or postmortem procedures; and first-responder activities. The additional measures include:

  • Detailed infection control training and planning
  • Sanitation procedures for routine cleaning and disinfection
  • Robust use of personal protective equipment
  • Operation of existing ventilation systems according to national standards
  • Use of barriers, partitions, and airborne infection isolation rooms
  • Screening and triaging for symptoms of COVID-19

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 207333

Reported Deaths: 2759
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40422614
Washington26826249
Marion23473324
Clackamas18967235
Lane13934165
Jackson11566146
Deschutes1004182
Umatilla861687
Linn563681
Yamhill478979
Klamath477878
Polk401356
Douglas390683
Josephine362372
Malheur362163
Benton327322
Jefferson237539
Coos217537
Columbia192629
Union150224
Wasco145530
Lincoln143721
Crook129423
Hood River121833
Morrow115716
Clatsop10609
Baker103015
Curry72511
Tillamook6604
Grant5527
Lake4688
Harney4359
Wallowa1945
Gilliam811
Sherman701
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3811723

Reported Deaths: 63424
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124816124461
Riverside3017994627
San Bernardino2993724873
San Diego2819363777
Orange2731285114
Santa Clara1201942193
Kern1108471405
Sacramento1079131737
Fresno1029961724
Alameda898191280
Ventura817271032
San Joaquin748081440
Contra Costa70818813
Stanislaus635581070
Tulare49808850
Monterey43842432
San Mateo42725581
San Francisco37287556
Santa Barbara34624455
Solano33797267
Merced32317481
Sonoma30974317
Imperial28880741
Placer23633300
Kings23209247
San Luis Obispo21448261
Madera16652245
Santa Cruz16246209
Marin14207230
Yolo14157212
Butte12662198
Shasta12616235
El Dorado10415117
Napa1002980
Sutter9672113
Yuba651951
San Benito611163
Lassen579925
Tehama573963
Nevada493275
Humboldt451449
Mendocino435150
Tuolumne421971
Amador374347
Lake356445
Glenn243527
Siskiyou239837
Colusa228818
Calaveras220956
Del Norte14658
Inyo143438
Mono12984
Plumas7376
Modoc5635
Mariposa4657
Trinity4246
Sierra1170
Alpine890
Unassigned340
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