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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: 320990

Reported Deaths: 3682
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52083644
Washington35615280
Marion33366399
Clackamas27185275
Lane24597256
Jackson21336267
Deschutes17215104
Umatilla13006129
Douglas10969202
Linn1083488
Josephine8772173
Yamhill7704101
Klamath666493
Polk642172
Malheur494667
Benton474228
Coos436272
Columbia333539
Jefferson325747
Lincoln283430
Union280938
Wasco248139
Crook220639
Clatsop217526
Tillamook185123
Baker180524
Morrow170721
Curry168617
Hood River165835
Harney88318
Grant8678
Lake7418
Wallowa54012
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4680552

Reported Deaths: 68599
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145417226013
Riverside3600584843
San Diego3543914051
San Bernardino3490475540
Orange3162215384
Sacramento1516592138
Santa Clara1411661844
Fresno1373871927
Kern1369321532
Alameda1168001333
San Joaquin983511628
Ventura982921134
Contra Costa96331924
Stanislaus814771256
Tulare74142898
San Mateo52540612
San Francisco52328615
Monterey49733567
Solano44452312
Santa Barbara43353505
Merced39734546
Sonoma39609384
Placer37033367
Imperial34462755
Kings30419293
San Luis Obispo28582318
Madera22042263
Butte21781236
Shasta21374290
Santa Cruz20255214
Yolo19359239
Marin17200242
El Dorado16194130
Sutter13228154
Napa1235295
Yuba937161
Nevada856885
Tehama843786
Humboldt843093
San Benito711470
Mendocino698476
Lassen653027
Tuolumne623393
Lake613592
Amador498859
Glenn407530
Siskiyou406241
Calaveras351170
Del Norte342035
Colusa293918
Inyo168539
Mono15145
Plumas12676
Mariposa102713
Trinity74310
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1370
Alpine1010
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