Oregon OSHA Moves Closer to Adopting Temporary COVID-19 Rule

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On Friday, October 23, 2020, Oregon OSHA issued the fourth draft of a new temporary infectious disease rule applicable to all workplaces in the state (Temporary Rule). The Temporary Rule (staying in effect for up to 180 days from adoption) is tailored to the current COVID-19 pandemic, while a permanent infectious disease rule will follow in 2021.

Oregon OSHA will be accepting written comments through October 30, 2020, with the objective of finalizing and adopting the rule the week of November 2, 2020.

Employers should be prepared to implement a number of new requirements on a relatively short timeline, including the development and implementation of a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment and infection control plan. We have provided below a high-level summary of certain requirements for Oregon workplaces. Employers should consult the Temporary Rule for all requirements applicable to their workplaces.

Under the Temporary Rule, all Oregon workplaces would be required, among other things, to:

  • Design work activities and workflow in a way to ensure six-foot physical distancing between all individuals in the workplace unless the employer can demonstrate that the six-foot distance is not feasible for certain work activities;
  • Provide masks, face shields, or coverings to employees at no cost;
  • Require face coverings, shields, or masks in the workplace by all individuals in indoor work settings shared with other people, and outdoors whenever a six-foot distance cannot be maintained;
  • Mandate face coverings, shields, or masks when employees are transported in a vehicle, unless everyone is wearing respirators or from the same household;
  • Regularly clean or sanitize all common areas, shared equipment, and high-touch surfaces every 24 hours or 12 hours, depending on occupancy;
  • Provide employees with supplies and time to sanitize and perform hand hygiene more frequently;
  • Maximize ventilation in the workplace;
  • Post signs on COVID-19 hazards; and
  • Implement processes to notify employees if they have had a work-related contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours of learning of the positive test result.

The Temporary Rule mandates that all employers in Oregon conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment and implement an infection control plan within one month of OSHA's adoption of the rule. Workplaces with more than 10 employees in Oregon must document their COVID-19 exposure risk assessment and infection control plans in writing.

The infection control plan must be specific to the type of work performed by employees on a facility-by-facility basis or, if multiple facilities are substantially similar, by facility type. The COVID-19 exposure risk assessment must include participation and feedback from employees.

Employers must provide employees information and training regarding COVID-19 within six months of the rule's adoption.

The Temporary Rule imposes additional requirements for workplaces at "exceptional risk," including, among other things, settings where employees perform direct patient care in healthcare settings, direct client service in residential care or assisted living facilities, or in-home care. Further, the Temporary Rule contains industry- and activity-specific mandatory workplace guidance that supplements the requirements applicable generally to all Oregon workplaces.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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