OR-OSHA Issues Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks

The Temporary Rule (all 105 pages) is effective November 16, 2020. https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules/div1/437-001-0744.pdf.

The rule includes general requirements for all employers, specific requirements by industry, and deadlines for compliance (some of which are fast approaching).

Employers should carefully review the text of the rule to understand the specific compliance criteria for each obligation. OSHA plans to release (or has already made available) templates for employers to use when completing the criteria for each separate employer obligation. OSHA also plans to make training videos available to employers.  

Here is a summary of employer obligations (and deadlines):

  • Ventilation. No later than January 6, 2021, employers must optimize the amount of outside air circulated through its existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system(s), to the extent the system can do so when  operating as designed, whenever there are employees in the workplace and the outdoor air quality index remains at either “good” or “moderate” levels.
  • Exposure Risk AssessmentNo later than December 7, 2020, all employers must conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment, without regard to the use of personal protective equipment, masks, face coverings, or face shields. If an employer has multiple facilities that are substantially similar, its assessment may be developed by facility type rather than site-by-site so long as any site-specific information that affects employee exposure risk to COVID-19 is included in the assessment. Risk Assessment Form is available now: https://osha.oregon.gov/covid19/Pages/default.aspx
  • Infection control plan. No later than December 7, 2020, all employers must establish and implement an infection control plan based on the risks identified in the risk assessment including, but not limited to, ventilation, staggered shifts, redesigning the workplace to accommodate physical distancing, reducing use of shared surfaces and tools, limiting the number of employees and other individuals in work areas, personal protective equipment, etc.
  • Employee information and training. No later than December 21, 2020, employers must provide workers with information and training regarding COVID-19. This information and training can be provided remotely or using computer-based models but must be provided in a manner and language understood by the affected workers.
  • COVID-19 infection notification process. Excluding settings where patients are hospitalized on the basis that they are known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19, employers must establish a process to notify exposed employees (those who were within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more, regardless of whether one or both of them were wearing source control) that they had a work-related contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as to notify affected employees (those who worked in the same facility or in the same well-defined portion of the facility such as a particular floor) that an individual who was present in the facility has confirmed COVID-19).

The Temporary Rule also includes existing employer obligations (check the text of the rule for additional obligations and specific details):

  • Physical distancing. All employers must ensure that both work activities and workflow are designed to eliminate the need for any employee to be within 6 feet of another individual in order to fulfill their job duties unless the employer determines and can demonstrate that such physical distancing is not feasible for certain activities.
  • Mask, face covering, or face shield requirements. Each employer must ensure that all individuals (including employees, part-time workers, temporary laborers, customers, vendors, patrons, contractors, etc.) at the workplace or other premises subject to the employer’s control wear a mask, face covering, or face shield as source control in accordance with the requirements of the Oregon Health Authority’s Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance. Consistent with that guidance, it is strongly recommended, but not required, that individuals wear a mask or face covering as source control rather than relying upon a face shield alone.
    • When employees are transported in a vehicle for work purposes, regardless of the travel distance or duration involved, all occupants in the vehicle must wear a mask, face covering, or face shield unless employees are wearing respirators in accordance with the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Note: This requirement does not apply when all occupants within the vehicle are members of the same household.
  • Cleaning and sanitation. Employers must regularly clean or sanitize all common areas, shared equipment, and high-touch surfaces as defined by this rule that are under its control and that are used by employees or the public.
    • Such regular cleaning or sanitization must be implemented based on the following frequencies:
    • At least once every 24 hours if the workplace is occupied less than 12 hours a day; or
    • At least every 8 hours while in use, if the workplace is occupied more than 12 hours a day.
    • Employers must provide cleaning supplies and time necessary to clean and sanitize as well as to perform hand hygiene before using shared equipment.
  • Posting. Employers must post the “COVID-19 Hazards Poster” in a conspicuous manner in a central location. Employees working remotely must be a provided with a copy of the poster via electronic means. Poster is here: https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHAPubs/5504.pdf

We will post again when OSHA releases additional templates and when the training is available.

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