Oregon employers should take note of new state Occupational Health & Safety Administration (“OR OSHA”) standards that are likely to take effect soon. On September 25, 2020, OR OSHA’s Infectious Disease Rulemaking Advisory Committee published its final COVID-19 Temporary Standard (following a brief notice and comment period).
Whereas much of the earlier guidance for employers from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and OR OSHA was limited to specific industries or types of facilities, these new requirements impose mandates on all Oregon employers. OR OSHA pushed back the initial timeline for issuance, and has indicated it now intends to issue the new requirements on October 21, 2020 with an effective date of November 1, 2020.
Here, we highlight they key new requirements of the Standard, which employers should move quickly to implement. (Additional requirements not covered in this post apply to “workplaces at exceptional risk,” defined in the Standard as those where job duties include certain health care, emergency first response, and laboratory functions.)
Face covering mandate
Employers “must ensure” that all individuals wear masks, face shields, or face coverings in the following circumstances, unless they are “actively eating, drinking, or smoking”:
OR OSHA will issue a “COVID-19 Hazards Poster,” which employers must post in all of the following locations:
Appointing a “distancing officer”
Exposure risk assessment
COVID-19 infection notification process
Oregon employers should also be mindful of additional requirements that may impact operations later, monitor developments, and prepare now to the extent possible to be ready should additional obligations come online:
If OHA, a local health authority, or a medical provider “recommends employee quarantine or isolation” due to COVID-19 (e.g., through contract tracing), the affected employee “must” be reassigned to duties that do not involve in-person contract with other workers or the public until the authority/provider indicates medical removal is no longer needed.