Oregon employers and safety professionals should be aware of new worker protection laws that took effect January 1. The changes were announced by Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.
- Senate Bill 92 aligns Oregon OSHA’s penalties with those of federal OSHA, resulting in higher maximum penalties for employers that violate safety and health laws.
- Senate Bill 93 increases the Workers’ Memorial Scholarship Account from $250,000 to $1 million. This fund awards scholarships to dependents or spouses of workers killed or permanently disabled on the job.
- House Bill 2337 raises the minimum and maximum benefit for workers receiving a permanent total disability award. It went from $50, or 90 percent of the workers’ weekly wage, to 33 percent of the state average weekly wage.
- House Bill 2338 increases the allowed age of dependents of a worker who died on the job and simplifies eligibility for benefits. The measure allows a dependent to receive benefits until age 19 and clarifies that the benefit level is the same regardless of the child’s dependence on the worker’s surviving spouse. Benefits will be paid for up to 48 months when the dependent is in a post-secondary education or training program.
Also of note, Oregon OSHA has begun enforcing updated pesticide rules to protect workers in farming, forestry, and other industries. The rules are a result of revisions to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Worker Protection Standard. The updated regulations affect areas including worker notifications, frequency of training, and trainer qualifications.
Learn more about the new Oregon worker protection standards at http://osha.oregon.gov.