Oregon OSHA adopts COVID-19 rule
The rule was adopted May 4. Oregon OSHA made some adjustments from the temporary rule, though much of it remains unchanged. Here’s what you need to know.
posted August 12, 2021
Update: After easing restrictions on masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated people in mid-May, Gov. Kate Brown reissued a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. The mandate, in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, takes effect on Aug. 13. Oregon OSHA also released a revised version of the COVID-19 rule, effective Aug. 13.
Oregon OSHA adopted a rule on May 4 to address COVID-19 workplace risks, replacing a temporary rule adopted in November 2020. The rule has gone through several revisions since May. Oregon OSHA indicated it will repeal this rule once it is no longer necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon OSHA and several stakeholder groups meet at least every two months to discuss revisions to the rule in response to the pandemic.
Key protection measures include face coverings, employee training, notification procedures, risk assessment, and infection control planning.
Read a summary of important details below. You can read the full text of the updated rule here.
Sanitation: Oregon OSHA has stated in recent guidance that the requirement to clean high touch surfaces, common areas, and shared equipment every 24 hours remains in the rule, but will not be enforced except for in health care settings. However, employers must continue to provide employees with the supplies and reasonable time to clean and perform hand hygiene. Also, the provisions related to cleaning after an individual known or suspected to have COVID-19 has been in the work area will continue to be enforced. It is recommended that the area be closed off and a waiting period of at least several hours be followed prior to cleaning and disinfecting.
Face coverings and distancing: After easing restrictions on masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated people in mid-May, Gov. Kate Brown reissued a mask mandate for all indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status, effective Aug. 13. The revised Oregon OSHA rule complies with Oregon Health Authority's mask mandate that says employers must ensure that employees, contractors, and volunteers wear face coverings indoors. They must also post signs at entrances to the indoor space stating that masks are required. Finally, they must make reasonable efforts to ensure customers, guests, and others comply with the mask requirement. Reasonable efforts include an audible reminder of the requirements, and not actively contradicting the requirements (ie. posting signs that say a mask need not be worn). Physical distancing requirements are no longer being enforced outside of health care settings.
Vaccination: Oregon OSHA is not encouraging employers to distinguish between workers based on vaccination status, and there is no mention of vaccination in the rule. OHA strongly recommends that all eligible Oregonians get vaccinated to reduce the risk of significant health impacts and curb the virus spread and variants.
Clarifying requirements: The Exposure Risk Assessment, Infection Control Plan, and Infection Control Training provisions are still required as they were in the temporary rule but do not need to be revised or repeated.
Exposure records: COVID-19 exposure records make it clear that the recordkeeping provisions may apply when written records are created.
Transportation: Oregon OSHA encourages, but does not require, employers to consider alternatives to transporting multiple persons where practical.
Ventilation: Employers with more than 10 employees must certify in writing that they are running their ventilation system in accordance with the rule to the best of their knowledge. Quarterly, all employers must ensure the system optimizes outside air (when the air quality index is good or moderate) and maintain filters to ensure air intakes are clean and free of debris. Good air quality is 0 to 50 on the index. Moderate is 51 to 100. Check Oregon DEQ's air quality map for current levels.
Quarantine: Written notification of return rights when employees must quarantine is required. The rule also encourages, but does not require, employers to provide details about leave options.
PPE: Certain exceptional risk employers are required to have a written PPE supply and crisis management plan.
Respirators: Health care employers are required to provide NIOSH-approved respirators to employees working with known or suspected COVID-19 positive patients unless such respirators are unavailable. All other requirements remain.
K-12 educational institutions: On July 29, Gov. Kate Brown announced that masks will be required indoors for all K-12 schools. Appendix A-8 has been amended to ensure that employers comply with the requirements of protections imposed by Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education in public and private K-12 schools.
Key dates: Respiratory protection for direct patient care was required by May 17. Ventilation, transportation, employee notification, and the PPE supply and crisis management plan requirements were all effective June 3. Renewed masking requirements were effective Aug. 13.
We're here to help.
Our safety team is here if you need help understanding and implementing the rule in your workplace. Call 877.242.5211 to speak to one of our safety management consultants or contact your consultant directly if you already have one assigned to you.
SAIF continuously updates our COVID-19 resources, and you and can find them at saif.com/coronavirussafety.