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Oregon OSHA proposes permanent COVID-19 rule

Posted On: Feb. 2, 2021 8:55 AM CST


The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is proposing a permanent rule that would maintain current temporary protections for workers against COVID-19 and include mandates that address vaccination in the workplace.

A temporary rule, which took effect Nov. 16, is set to expire May 4.

The agency said in a statement Monday that it had made “some improvements” to the temporary rule and will hold a series of virtual public hearings to collect comments.

The rule must be adopted as a permanent rule because the law does not allow a temporary rule to be extended. Oregon OSHA expects to repeal the permanent rule once it is no longer needed to address the pandemic, according to the statement.

The permanent rule would maintain such requirements as physical distancing, use of face coverings, regular sanitation, employee training, maximization and maintenance of existing ventilation systems, and formal exposure risk assessment and infection control planning.

The permanent rule would add measures such as requiring employers to consider alternatives to transporting multiple people in a single vehicle and slightly modify the ventilation measures so that employers with more than 10 employees with existing ventilation systems must certify in writing that they are running their systems in line with current requirements. The proposed rule does not require the purchase or installation of new ventilation systems.

The new rule would also require employers to provide written notification to employees of their rights to return to work when employees must quarantine, and require employers to cooperate with public health authorities that ask to arrange for vaccinations in the workplace.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here