SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon OSHA said on Friday it had adopted an interim rule aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus in all workplaces by requiring employers to take a series of measures. comprehensive risk reduction measures.
The rule will go into effect on November 16, with some parts to be implemented gradually, and is expected to go into effect until May 4, 2021. This rule is a continuation of the guidance given by The Oregon Health Authority is recommended and enforced by Oregon OSHA at work, including away from the body, use of face towels and cleaning.
The rule aims to further improve the existing structure to reduce workplace risk by requiring some of the measures that many employers have voluntarily taken, the agency said.
For example, it requires employers to inform employees about workplace infections and to train workers how to minimize the risks. Likewise, employers must formally assess exposure risks, develop an infection control plan, and address indoor air quality within their current capacity.
“We believe compliance with this code will help reduce the serious worker threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA administrator. “It does so by establishing a clear, practical and consistent set of measures for employers.”
Those measures – along with more requirements for particularly high-risk jobs, such as direct patient care – are part of Oregon OSHA’s continuing education and enforcement effort to help protect workers from coronavirus.
Beginning in late June, the interim rule development process included more than a dozen virtual forums addressing specific industry and issues before the first draft review of the four stakeholders was even developed. . And each subsequent draft incorporates the changes brought about by the Oregon OSHA discussion with a large number of employer and employee representatives, as well as feedback from the general public.
The implementation of the provisional rule brings requirements in the existing rule-enactment authority of the Oregon Safe Employment Act. Oregon workplace health and safety laws, including measures that protect the right of workers to raise health and safety concerns in the workplace without retaliation.
Over the coming weeks, Oregon OSHA will provide educational resources to help employers and workers understand and apply requirements. Currently, this division provides consulting services that provide free assistance with health and safety programs and technical staff who help employers understand requirements.
The COVID-19 hazard poster – supplied by the department and as a temporary rule must be posted – is now available in both English and Spanish. And the department is providing a user-friendly overview of interim rules, summarizing the requirements and how they apply, and showing the effective dates of the phased terms.
Oregon OSHA encourages a careful reading of the interim code, which contains an appendix containing provisions for specific industries and workplace activities. The requirements of the interim rule include:
- An employer must ensure a six-foot gap between everyone at the workplace through the design of work operations and work processes, unless it is deemed unfeasible for some work.
Masks, face masks or face shields
- The employer must ensure that all individuals – including employees, part-time workers and clients – at the workplace, or other establishment under the employer’s control, must wear a mask, face shield or face shield according to Oregon Health Authority guidelines across the state.
- Employers must provide employees with free masks, face veil or face shields.
- If an employee chooses to wear a mask, a veil or a face mask – even when not asked to do so – the employer must allow them to do so.
- When an employee is transported to a vehicle for work purposes, regardless of the distance or the length of travel, all occupants must wear a mask, face mask or face veil. This requirement does not apply when all passengers in the vehicle are members of the same household.
- Employers must maximize the efficiency of existing ventilation systems, maintain and replace air filters, and clean inlet ports that provide fresh or outdoor air. The temporary rule does not require the owner to purchase or install a new ventilation system.
Assessment of exposure risks
- Employers must perform a risk assessment – a process that requires employee participation and feedback – to assess potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize that exposure.
Plan for infection control
- Employers must develop an infection control plan that addresses a number of factors, including when workers must use personal protective equipment and a description of the risk control measures. Specifically.
Information and training
- Employers must provide information and training to employees on topics related to COVID-19. They must do so in a manner and language understood by the worker.
Medical Notification, Examination, and Removal
- Employers must notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related COVID-19 infection.
- Employers are required to cooperate with public health officials if workplace testing is necessary.
- If the employee is to be isolated or quarantined, the employer must follow the steps of reassignment and return to work.
The Code calls for more measures for particularly high-risk jobs. Such jobs include direct patient care or decontamination work; aerosol procedure or after autopsy; and first respondent’s actions. Additional measures include:
- Training and detailed infection control planning
- Regular cleaning and disinfection procedures
- Effective use of personal protective equipment
- Operate existing ventilation systems according to national standards
- Fences, partitions and isolation rooms for airborne infections are used
- Screening and classification of symptoms of COVID-19
Meanwhile, an executive order issued by Governor Kate Brown on 23 October extended COVID-19 protections for home farm workers provided by the employer until the end of the season. service.
After applying the interim COVID-19 rule to all workplaces, Oregon OSHA continues to pursue a permanent rule that will provide a structure for responding to potential disease outbreaks in the future. . More information is available on the department’s infectious diseases rule page and on the department’s COVID-19 resource page.
Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces state workplace health and safety rules and works to improve workplace health and safety for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit osha.oregon.gov.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/dcbs/.