Oregon OSHA Releases Draft COVID-19 Temporary Standard
On August 17, 2020, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA), the state plan responsible for overseeing workplace safety and health in the state of Oregon, release a draft COVID-19 temporary standard.
What are the details?
The temporary standard begins by breaking the workforce down into three segments: (1) all workplaces; (2) workplaces with a “heightened risk” of exposure; and (3) workplaces with an “exceptional risk” of exposure. The standard then layers requirements on each segment with additional workplace safety requirements for employees at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“Workplaces at heightened risk” of exposure would include establishments where employees “perform a close-in tactile person-to-person work activity,” including “any job duty or work operation that requires an employee to be within six feet of another individual for longer than 15 minutes and that includes the direct touching of the individual with the employee’s hands or by the use of instruments or tools.” Examples include “tattooing, massage, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, and make-up artists.”
“Workplaces at exceptional risk” of exposure would include those that “are involved in at least one of the following:
- Direct patient care in a healthcare setting;
- Aerosol-generating healthcare or postmortem procedures;
- Emergency first responder activities;
- Handling, packaging, cleaning, processing, or transporting of ‘contaminated materials’ as defined by this rule; or
- Handling, packaging, cleaning, processing, or transporting human remains or human tissue specimens or laboratory cultures collected from an individual suspected or known to have COVID-19.”
A shorthand list of what topics are impacted in all workplaces is as follows:
- Physical distancing or droplet buffer (face coverings)
- Motor Vehicle Travel
- Face Coverings
- Physical Distancing Officer
- Building operators
- Posting requirements – new “COVID-19 Hazards Poster”
- Employee training
- Medical removal and mandatory two-week paid leave provision A more detailed description of each change can be found in this article.
Oregon has created a webpage with many resources related to these potential regulations.
What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the changes above and begin to think of policy changes that may need to be made should these rules be made official.