Starting November 16, 2020, all Oregon employers must comply with new OSHA regulations related to COVID-19. Among other things, these rules impose substantial requirements to conduct risk assessments, create infection control plans, and train employees—all on a tight timeline.
As we previously discussed, Oregon OSHA has been developing a temporary rule to address COVID-19 workplace risks. The final temporary rule was adopted on November 6, 2020, and is expected to stay in effect until May 4, 2021, when a permanent infectious disease rule will take its place.
The Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks (Temporary Rule) provides tiered sets of workplace standards:
The Temporary Rule also includes nearly 80 pages of detailed "Mandatory Workplace Guidance" for 19 categories of specific industries and activities such as retail, restaurants and other food or beverage establishments, personal services, construction operations, education, and more. Additional requirements apply to building operators related to common areas.
Under the Temporary Rule, all workplaces in Oregon must, among other things:
Importantly, the Temporary Rule imposes mandates that all employers in Oregon conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment and implement an infection control plan by December 7, 2020. Workplaces with more than 10 employees in Oregon must document their COVID-19 exposure risk assessment and infection-control plans in writing.
The assessment may differ based on facility and/or job description, meaning that most employers will be completing multiple assessments. The assessment must include adequate participation and feedback from employees. The assessment is due December 7, 2020, and Oregon OSHA has published a sample risk assessment form with these questions.
The plan is due December 7, 2020, and Oregon OSHA will make sample plans available. Employers must provide employees with specific information and training regarding COVID-19 by December 21, 2020; and the training must include an opportunity for employee feedback and cover at least 10 topics listed in the regulations. Oregon OSHA will provide sample training materials to help with some of the components.
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. These regulations include:
Employers have detailed tasks ahead of them, particularly those with complex workplaces. Employers need to be aware of the upcoming deadlines and take necessary steps to satisfy the requirements or be subject to potential OSHA complaints, inspections or even penalties. Below is a summary of upcoming dates.