On November 6, 2020, Oregon OSHA adopted COVID-19 Temporary Rules requiring nearly all Oregon employers to implement workplace safety measures, including employee training. Although the rules are effective on November 16, 2020, there are several deadlines for other workplace safety measures. An overview of the primary workplace safety requirements is outlined below.
COVID-19 Employee Training Requirements
- No later than December 21, 2020, employers must provide COVID-19 employee training.
- The training can be provided remotely or using computer-based models but must be provided in a manner and language understood by employees.
- Employers must ensure “the training provides an opportunity for feedback from employees about the topics covered in the training.”
- The COVID-19 training must include topics relating to methods of transmission, coronavirus symptoms, social distancing, face coverings, and cleaning protocols, as well as other state-specific workplace safety information.
Workplace Safety Requirements – Effective November 16, 2020
- The workplace must be designed so that no employee needs to be within six (6) feet of another person to perform their job duties.
- Physical distancing is not required if the employer can show it is not feasible for certain activities.
- Everyone in the workplace – including employees, customers, vendors, patrons, and customers – must wear a face covering pursuant to Oregon Health Authority’s Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance.
- The employer must provide face coverings or shields to employees at no cost.
- An employee may choose to wear their own face covering or shield, upon employer approval.
- Employers must allow employees to wear a face covering or shield in the workplace even when not required.
Infection Notification Process
- Employers must have a process to notify both exposed and affected employees that someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was in the workplace while infectious within 24 hours of becoming aware of the positive test result.
- Oregon OSHA will publish a model infection notification process that employers can use to satisfy this requirement.
- The affected employee must be returned to previous job duties if still available without any adverse action. An employer is not required to keep a job available that would not otherwise have been available even had the employee not been quarantined or isolated. However, the employer cannot fill the job with another employee to make it unavailable.
- If the Oregon Health Authority, a local health authority, or a medical provider recommends quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, the employer must direct the affected employee to isolate at home and away from other non-quarantined individuals.
- If an employee is quarantined or isolated for COVID-19, the employer must allow the employee to work at home if suitable work is available and the employee’s condition does not prevent it.
- Employers must make decisions about testing and return to work after an employee has been in COVID-19 quarantine or isolation in accordance with public health guidance and consistent with guidance from the employee’s medical provider.
Workplace Cleaning Protocols
- Employers must clean or sanitize all common areas, shared equipment, and high-touch surfaces, as defined in the rule: (1) at least once every 24 hours if the workplace is occupied less than 12 hours per day; or (2) at least every 8 hours while in use if the workplace is occupied more than 12 hours per day.
- Employers must provide employees with supplies (soap and water) and reasonable time necessary to clean or sanitize more frequently than would otherwise be required before using shared equipment or whenever the employee chooses to do so.
- Employers must clean and disinfect any common areas, high-touch- surfaces, and any shared equipment, as defined by the rule, under the employer’s control that an individual known to be infected with COVID-19 used or had direct physical contact with.
- Employers must post a COVID-19 Hazards Poster in the workplace, which will be provided by Oregon OSHA.
- A copy of the poster must be provided to employees who work remotely through electronic or equally effective means.
Other Workplace Safety Deadlines
Exposure Risk Assessment – December 7
- Employers must conduct an exposure risk assessment addressing specific questions set out in the rules.
- The exposure risk assessment must involve feedback and participation from employees (e.g., during an interactive safety meeting or similar interactive process).
- Employers with more than 10 employees in the state must document the assessment in a writing, which must also include:
- name, job title, and contact information for the person conducting the assessment
- a summary of the employer’s answers to each of the applicable exposure risk assessment questions
- date assessment was completed
- job classifications evaluated
- Oregon OSHA will make a Risk Assessment template and sample Risk Assessments available to assist employers in completing this task.
Infection Control Plan – December 7
- Employers must implement an Infection Control Plan based on identified risks that implements the controls set forth in the rules.
- Employers may develop the plan by facility type rather than site-by-site as long as any site-specific information that affects employee exposure risk to COVID-19 is included in the plan.
- Employers with 10 or more employees must have a written Infection Control Plan and ensure a copy is accessible to employees.
- The Infection Control Plan must contain certain elements outlined in the rules, including a list of job assignments, personal protective equipment, face covering requirements, hazard control measures, infection notification process, and training procedures.
- Oregon OSHA will make sample Infection Control Plans available to assist employers in completing this task.
Ventilation Requirements – January 6, 2021
- Existing HVAC systems must be used to circulate air whenever employees are present.
- HVAC air filters must be properly maintained and replaced as necessary.
- Intake ports for HVAC systems must be cleaned, maintained, and cleared of any debris that could affect the function and performance of the system.
Workplaces at Exceptional Risk
Oregon OSHA Temporary Rules place additional safety requirements on “workplaces at exceptional risk,” such as jobs in healthcare and laboratories, which are not addressed here.