Employer Resources for Compliance with Oregon OSHA’s Temporary COVID-19 Workplace Standards
The recently adopted Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) includes a series of requirements for employers operating in Oregon and clarifies standards on physical distancing, face coverings, and workplace sanitation practices. Under the rule, employers are required to (among other things) conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment, create an infection control plan, complete Infection Control Training (based in part on the Infection Control Plan) and establish a process to quickly notify employees of any work-related contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.
Although OR-OSHA delayed implementation and enforcement of these requirements for certain employers whose business operations were most directly affected by the new COVID Risk Guidelines and acknowledged a grace period for employers who had been working to comply but had not yet completed that work, OR-OSHA has indicated they plan to start scheduling more proactive inspections and enforcement actions. OR-OSHA may soon be reaching out to specific employers, requesting copies of their infection control plans and will likely focus enforcement efforts on industries that have seen the most complaints and industries subject to special requirements such as those in retail, grocery, restaurants, agriculture and food processing.
To assist employers in compliance with these new requirements, below are key requirements of the new rule that apply to all workplaces in Oregon and links to useful resources and materials. Further industry-specific and activity-specific requirements are listed in Appendix A for restaurants, bars, brewpubs and tasting rooms at breweries, wineries and/or distilleries, retail stores, outdoor/indoor markets, personal services providers, construction operations, indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities, outdoor recreation organizations, transit agencies, collegiate, semi-professional and minor league sports, swimming pools and spas, sports courts, fitness organizations, public and private K-12 schools and early education providers, colleges and universities, veterinary care providers, fire service and EMS, law enforcement, jails and custodial institutions. The rule also contains provisions for workplaces of exceptional risk which include workplaces where employees perform job duties that include (among other things) direct patient care in a healthcare setting, residential or assisted living and in-home care services, and personal care activities that involve very close contact with an individual. These heightened requirements supersede the general guidance in the rule and when areas are not addressed, the general rule applies.
Employers must ensure work activities eliminate the need for employees to be within six feet of each other.
Employers must clean or sanitize high-touch surfaces and shared equipment at least every 24 hours for workplaces occupied less than 12 hours a day.
If workplaces are occupied more than 12 hours a day, cleaning must be done every 8 hours.
Employers must provide employees with sufficient hand washing supplies and facilities.
Employees must provide employees with supplies to clean work surfaces.
Employers must ensure all individuals (including employees, part-time workers, temporary laborers, customers, vendors, patrons, contractors, etc.) wear face coverings in workplaces consistent with Oregon Health Authority guidance.
Employees must also wear face coverings in vehicles when traveling with other employees for work purposes.
Employers must provide face coverings to employees at no cost.
Employers had until January 6, 2021 to ensure their existing HVAC system is set to optimize the amount of fresh air circulated through the indoor workplace.
Businesses must repair and maintain heating and cooling systems to maximize air flow. This likely involves replacing filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Exposure Risk Assessment
Employers were required to conduct an Exposure Risk Assessment by Dec. 7, 2020.
Employers with more than 10 employees statewide must document their exposure risk assessment in writing.
Employers were required to complete employee training by Dec. 21, 2020.
Employers must provide information and training on physical distancing requirements; mask and face covering requirements; sanitation requirements; COVID-19 signs and symptom reporting procedures; COVID-19 infection notification process; medical removal of employee from the workplace; characteristics and methods of transmission of the virus; COVID-19 symptoms; and the ability of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 persons to transmit the virus.
Can be done through a safety meeting or virtually.
Employees must be given opportunities to provide feedback.
Employers must adopt policies about how to notify employees if they have been exposed to someone who is known to have been infected with COVID-19 within 24 hours of the employer’s becoming aware of the presence of a COVID-infectious individual in the workplace.
Employers must remove individuals from the workplace if public health officials direct the employees to isolate or quarantine. Employees are entitled to return to their previous position after the isolation or quarantine time period.
New and updated information can be found at the OSHA Infectious Disease rulemaking website. Processes for a permanent rulemaking are currently underway and may be implemented in 2021. If you have any questions about compliance with these new standards in your workplace, please contact me at or 503-595-6112.