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The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division on Thursday announced a permanent rule to provide workers continued protection against the spread of COVID-19 while scaling back requirements on contact tracing and testing.
Oregon OSHA said the rule represents “substantive changes and reductions” made to its temporary rule and that the new rule removes indoor masking requirements as well as most of the “other provisions no longer appropriate at this stage of the pandemic.”
Mask mandates will remain for workplaces deemed to be of exceptional risk, including hospitals, doctor offices, dental offices, urgent care, dialysis centers and emergency medical providers. Employers must provide masks in those settings.
Employers with exceptional risk workplaces are no longer required to screen and triage all individuals entering health care settings for symptoms of COVID-19, and exposure notification is no longer required in health care settings. Physical distancing and contact tracing are also no longer required in health care settings.
Employees at other workplaces who choose to wear a mask, face covering or face shield, even when it is not required, must be allowed by the employer to do so. And when an employee chooses to wear a filtering facepiece respirator, the employer must allow that use and follow the “voluntary use” provisions of the Respiratory Protection Standard.
Employers that require COVID-19 testing for workers must cover the costs associated with that testing, including time and travel.
The new rule states that employers “should” continue to optimize the use of ventilation systems to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and follow public health or medical provider recommendations for isolation or quarantine of employees for COVID-19 and provide notice to workers who have had a potential work-related exposure to COVID-19 within 24 hours.