COVID-19, Regulatory Developments

Oregon Releases Assistance Documents for COVID-19 Rule

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) released several documents to assist employers that must comply with the state’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposures. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Oregon state flag facemask

kovop58 / Shutterstock.com

Oregon OSHA is a division of the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Oregon’s temporary standard is expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021. The agency is working on a permanent infectious disease standard that could take effect as soon as April 19, 2021.

The Oregon COVID-19 rule’s effective date is November 16, but various provisions go into effect November 23, December 7, December 21, and January 6, 2021:

  • Building operators’ provisions take effect November 23.
  • Risk assessment, infection control plan, and additional infection control requirements go into effect December 7.
  • Employee information and training and infection control training measures take effect December 21.
  • Ventilation requirements go into effect January 6, 2021.

All other provisions—physical distancing; masks, face coverings, or face shields; cleaning and sanitation; posting; COVID-19 testing, screening, and infection notification; medical removal; and engineering control requirements—already are in effect.

Documents provided for employers include:

  • Exposure Risk Assessment Forms—Templates, available in Word and PDF, that employers can fill out as part of the requirement to conduct a risk assessment.
  • Model Policy for Notification of Employees when COVID-19 Exposure Occurs—A model procedure, available in Word and PDF, that can satisfy the requirement for employers to notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related infection.
  • The COVID-19 Hazards Poster—The agency provided a hazards poster in both English and Spanish that employers must post.
  • Overview Table—Summarizing the rules requirements and how they apply, along with the effective dates of certain provisions of the temporary rule.

The exposure risk assessment must involve the participation of and feedback from employees. The process gauges potential employee exposures to COVID-19 and addresses specific questions about minimizing exposures.

The COVID-19 hazards poster does not have to be printed and posted in color. Employers also may visit Oregon OSHA’s publications webpage to order a print copy of the agency’s poster.

Oregon OSHA began the process to develop a temporary rule in late June. The agency’s efforts included several virtual forums to address specific issues and industry concerns before developing the first of four stakeholder review drafts. Each subsequent draft incorporated changes resulting from Oregon OSHA’s discussions with employer and worker representatives, as well as feedback from the public at large.

Oregon became the third state to establish an ETS for COVID-19, following Virginia and Michigan. The Michigan rule requires employers to provide face coverings at no cost to employees. On November 19, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board met to consider an ETS for California. If adopted as proposed, the California rule would require employers to provide face coverings and COVID-19 testing at no cost to employees.

There is no federal ETS for workplace COVID-19 exposures.