Oregon Scales Back Permanent COVID Rule
Following a change in guidance by the Oregon Health Authority, the state Occupational Safety and Health division (OSHA) announced March 18 that it had eliminated many components of its COVID-protection rule for general workplaces. Among the components eliminated are requirements involving ventilation and risk assessments.
The amended rule continues to require employers to:
- Allow workers to use masks and provide them for free.
- Pay for any COVID testing required by employers.
Meanwhile, employers are encouraged – but not required – to:
- Optimize ventilation systems to minimize COVID risk.
- Follow public-health quarantine recommendations for employees with COVID.
- Notify workers who may have been exposed to COVID.
OSHA also has repealed most of the indexes that include industry-specific requirements. The exceptions involve health-care professions such as firefighters and medical transportation personnel.
The workplace rules for patient-care settings remains largely in place.
Capitol News Roundup
The Oregon Supreme Court on March 18 denied a request by campaign finance reform advocates for an expedited review of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s decision to kill a trio of proposed ballot measures. The decision all but eliminates any chance that the initiatives will qualify for the November ballot.
Six Democratic former lawmakers have created a political action committee to support moderate Democrats. The PAC, called “Oregonians are Ready,” is the idea of former state Rep. Brian Clem and includes former Reps. Jeff Barker, Caddy McKeown, Betty Komp and Deborah Boone. It also includes former state Sen. Arnie Roblan.
Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4% in February, according to the Oregon Employment Department. The rate, which was 4.2% in January, is now at its lowest level since March 2020, when it was 3.5%. The state’s nonfarm payroll grew by 12,300 jobs in February, led by leisure and hospitality (3,500 jobs), construction (2,300 jobs) and healthcare and social assistance (1,600 jobs). Despite gains in leisure and hospitality employment, the sector remains 14,600 jobs shy of payroll in February 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic.
Manufacturer Profile: Willamette Technical Fabricators
Check out our latest Oregon manufacturer profile. Willamette Technical Fabricators, which operates on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, specializes in custom, complex projects such as piping for pumped-storage hydropower projects and tough metal boats that can be squeezed between barges.
Willamette Technical Fabricators employs 22 people at its Portland facility and 13 at a machine shop it owns in Clackamas.
All of our manufacturer profiles are located on our Manufacturing Council of Oregon page. We intend to produce and post these profiles regularly to demonstrate the breadth of the manufacturing sector in Oregon.
OBI and the Oregon Business Council released a report late last year on the importance of manufacturing in Oregon, and we want Oregonians to know more about these businesses, what they make and how they contribute to the well-being of the state.
Check Out OBI’s CompSAFE Driving Safety Webinar
You want to keep your employees safe behind the wheel, whether they’re driving a company car to a worksite or managing a delivery route in a tractor-trailer. Ensuring safety involves the adoption of best practices, the regular delivery of safety training, and the ability to adjust to workforce challenges – including pandemics.
Learn more by watching CompSAFE’s recent webinar featuring Garrett Hanna, senior vice president of strategy and procurement at Timber Country Coca-Cola Beverages, whose fleet of 90 delivery trucks serves more than 2,000 customers per week. Hanna talks about driving-safety best practices as well as adjustments to training made amid the COVID pandemic. Watch the webinar here.
OBI Members Receive Free Legal Advice through LegalPlus Benefit
OBI members are entitled to 15 minutes of free legal consultation every month, thanks to a partnership with Innova Legal Advisors. The LegalPlus benefit allows businesses to seek advice on such common issues as:
- Employment practices, laws and regulations
- Business advice and problem-solving on corporate formation, structure, government relations, policies, mergers, buy-and-sell agreements and ownership issues
- Governance work with owners, boards of directors, shareholders, partners, and executive staff
- Money issues, credit management, creditors’ rights, capitalization/recapitalization and banking
- Government / municipal law
- Health care, HIPAA, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act
- Construction contracting
- Technology agreements
- Real estate sales, purchase, and leases
- Property disputes
- Mediation, arbitration, and litigation
More information can be found here.