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Oregon OSHA adopts COVID-19 temporary rule

Posted On: Nov. 9, 2020 1:40 PM CST


The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday adopted a temporary rule requiring employers to implement safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The rule, which will take effect Nov. 16, will require employers to notify workers of workplace coronavirus infections and provide training to workers on how to reduce risk. The temporary standard will also require employers to formally assess the risk of exposure, develop infection control plans and address indoor air quality.

The rule also creates more stringent COVID-19 protection measures for workers performing high-risk jobs, such as medical workers providing direct patient care.

Under the temporary rule, employers must ensure six-foot distancing between all people through workflow/work activity design unless it can be shown that it is not feasible for certain activities.

Employers must also mandate that all individuals — including customers — wear a mask, face covering or face shield, and companies must provide such equipment to workers free of charge. The rule also requires employers to maximize the effectiveness of their current ventilation systems through frequent replacement of air filters and requires that they conduct a risk assessment — with employee participation — to gauge the potential risks of employee exposure to coronavirus, and have an infection control plan in place.

Finally, the rule will require employers to provide information and training to workers about COVID-19, notify workers within 24 hours of learning of a work-related exposure and follow proper work reassignment or return-to-work steps if an employee has isolated or quarantined.

Oregon OSHA said in a statement that it will be providing educational resources to help employers understand and apply the new requirements and has made available a COVID-19 hazards poster for display in both English and Spanish.

The rule is slated to remain in effect until May 4, 2021, unless revised or repealed before that date.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.