On May 4, the Oregon Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) filed permanent workplace rules related to COVID. OSHA had previously adopted temporary rules on Nov. 6, 2020 and those rules were set to expire today. OBI has been heavily engaged in the rulemaking process on our members’ behalf, and has encouraged OSHA to consider the availability of COVID vaccines and other factors as Oregon businesses look ahead to a post-pandemic reality.
Our number one concern has always been public safety, and we have worked hard throughout the pandemic to ensure new state regulations in workplaces were fair and implementable. Below is our summary of some clarifications and new provisions in the rules that differ from the temporary rules. While most of the rules go into effect today, some of these new provisions will be delayed until June. OSHA has indicated the rules will be repealed when the COVID pandemic is no longer a threat to public health.
- Provides that rules will be regularly reviewed and reevaluated to determine if rules are still needed or enforcement guidance will be needed as conditions approve. First review is scheduled for this July.
- Clarifies that if an employer already conducted a risk assessment and completed an infection control plan under the temporary rules, they do not need to do so again under the permanent rules.
- Updates the cleaning and sanitization requirements to be consistent with new CDC guidance that such cleaning need only be done once a day. This is particularly helpful for businesses that run 24-hour operations.
- Directs employers to minimize employees traveling together in vehicles, where practical. Where not practical, employees must wear face coverings and outside air flow in vehicles should be optimized.
- Employers with 10 or more employees must attest that HVAC systems are functioning consistent with rule requirements.
- When employees must be absent from the workplace to quarantine because of an exposure, employers must notify them of their rights to return and any paid leave benefits provided by the employer. Note: under new guidance from OHA individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not have to quarantine after an exposure.
If you have any questions, please contact us via email.