Oregon OSHA now will require employers to take a series of steps, some phased in, to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
The temporary rules will require employers to notify employees of a workplace COVID-19 infection and assess the risk of exposure to their workers. Another rule is that employers allow workers to wear a face covering even if not required.
Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, said the rules would reduce “the serious threat to workers” from the pandemic. “It does so by establishing a clear, practical, and consistent set of measures for employers,” he said.
Under the freeze, Gov. Kate Brown is limiting all bars and restaurants to takeout only, closing gyms, limiting capacity at grocery stories and pharmacies, and requiring remote work when possible. The statewide freeze will be effective Wednesday and run through Dec. 2, except in Multnomah County where it lasts at least four weeks.
- Employers must ensure six-foot distancing between people in the workplace, unless it is not feasible for some activities.
- Employers must notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related COVID-19 infection.
- Employers must ensure that employees, part-timers and customers – at the workplace, or other place under the employer’s control — wear a mask, face covering, or face shield.
- Employers must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees free of charge.
- If an employee chooses to wear a face covering, the employer must allow it even if government rules don’t require it.
- When employees are transported for work-related purposes, all people inside the vehicle must wear a mask, face covering, or face shield, regardless of distance or duration of the trip, unless all people in the vehicle are members of the same household.
- Employers must involve employees and incorporate their feedback to gauge risks of exposure to COVID-19, effective Dec. 7.
- Employers must draw up an infection control plan that includes when workers must use personal protective equipment and that describes other measures to control specific hazards, effective Dec. 7.
- Employers must provide information and training about COVID-19 to workers in a manner and language the workers understand, effective Dec. 21.
There are additional requirements, especially for high-risk jobs, such as first responders and people who work with patients.
Read the temporary rule, which includes provisions for specific industries and workplace activities, at https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules/div1/437-001-0744.pdf.
Multnomah County, Washington, Clackamas and Marion counties, among others, are in the midst of a two-week pause to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The freeze, starting Wednesday, also affects many businesses in addition to restaurants, bars and gyms. The freeze requires:
–Closing outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
–Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.
–Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
Hair, nail and other personal service salons, such as massage therapy businesses, can remain open with existing limitations. State health officials said the businesses had not been associated with spread of coronavirus and some, such as physical therapy, were important to health.
The new OSHA rules are temporary but are expected to be in effect until May 4, 2021.”
This article was written by Brooke Herbert of the Oregonian. The source can be found, here.