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Questions & Answers

Oregon OSHA's COVID-19 Workplace Rule Changes Questions & Answers

On May 4, 2021, Oregon OSHA filed Rules Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks.

On June 30, 2021, Oregon OSHA filed changes to the Rules Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks.

Workplace Rule Change Questions and Answers PDF Updated July 9, 2021

Does the new public health guidance mean that Oregon OSHA's rules for COVID-19 are being rescinded?

A: No, but the Oregon OSHA rule has been modified accordingly to match Oregon's new statewide public health guidance. The provisions that have changed apply only to face coverings and physical distancing, as well as the COVID-19 Hazard poster requirement. Although those are the most visible requirements, the rule includes other protective provisions, such as infection control, cleaning, notification of exposure, and ventilation, plus individual screening and triage in health care facilities. Those remain in place at present.

Is there an official statement from Oregon OSHA regarding these changes?

A: Yes, you can find an official statement from Oregon OSHA on our website at osha.oregon.gov/news/2021/Pages/nr2021-25.

Can businesses still require face coverings?

A: Businesses can still choose to put their own protective provisions in place, such as face coverings, so long as those provisions are consistent with public health guidelines.

Which types of businesses still need to enforce face coverings and social distancing?

A: Establishments engaged in health care, public transit, and airports must still enforce face coverings and physical distancing.

Does the physical distancing and face covering change apply to all healthcare establishments?

A: Yes, at the present time facial coverings and physical distancing are required in all health care establishments (including dental offices and those engaged in noninvasive medical procedures). This also applies to patient reception areas, lobbies, and waiting areas.

How is “health care employer" defined?

A: Health care employers are those that operate workplaces where employees perform one or any combination of the following job duties:

  1. Direct patient care;
  2. Environmental decontamination services in a healthcare setting;
  3. Aerosol-generating healthcare or postmortem procedures (AGPs);
  4. Direct client service in residential care or assisted living facilities;
  5. Emergency first responder activities;
  6. Personal care activities that involve very close contact with an individual, such as toileting or bathing; or
  7. Handling, packaging, cleaning, processing, or transporting human remains or human tissue specimens or laboratory cultures collected from an individual known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19.

For more information on health care employers and workplaces at exceptional risk, you can go to at exceptional risk, you can go to osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules/div1/437-001-0744.pdf.

Do workers in areas of the healthcare establishment where patients DO NOT GO or where those exceptional risk job duties listed above are NOT PERFORMED, need to adhere to the same face covering and physical distancing requirements as those healthcare workers involved in direct patient care, AGPs, or other exceptional risk job duties?

No. So long as the involved employee is not engaged in an exceptional risk job duty and does not have direct or indirect exposure to patients, then those workers do not need to adhere to the physical distancing and face covering requirements.

How do the new federal OSHA rules apply to healthcare providers in Oregon?

A: Oregon OSHA's rule still applies and takes precedence over the federal OSHA standard for those employers that are already subject to Oregon OSHA's jurisdiction. An employer already covered by Oregon OSHA's rule does NOT need to also follow the federal OSHA rule.

Can COVID-19 vaccine verification be used to reduce physical distancing or face covering use in health care establishments, public transit, or airports?

No.

 


Scope of Oregon OSHA's Role Questions & Answers

Disponible en Español

Source file: Questions and Answers: PDF | Wordtambién disponible en español


What issues can Oregon OSHA address?

Oregon OSHA will address employee inquiries and complaints, and provide advice to employers related to any potential violation of existing Oregon OSHA rules or directives issued by Gov. Kate Brown if they involve potential workplace exposure.

Updated 3/27/2020

Under what authority can Oregon OSHA address public health issues for which Oregon OSHA has no rules?

All employers in Oregon are required by the Oregon Safe Employment Act (OSEA) to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees, regardless of the industry type or job function. Specifically, OAR 437-001-0760(1) – Rules for all Workplaces applies to all employers, including those in the construction industry and OAR 437-001-0099(2) – General Rules for agriculture.

In addition, Oregon OSHA has clear statutory authority to enforce other laws normally enforced by other agencies and other agencies' rules to the degree that they involve worker exposure to hazards. While we do not traditionally refer to the Governor's Office as an “agency" the term can be applied broadly, and Oregon OSHA believes that it has the authority to enforce the requirements of the executive order(s) as they relate to potential worker exposure to COVID-19.

Updated 4/3/2020

Will Oregon OSHA address concerns regarding price-gouging?

No, it is outside both our authority and our expertise. We have no ability to address public concerns about price gouging. The Oregon Department of Justice's (DOJ) consumer protection offices have the authority to address price gouging. Their website has information about it, including about the COVID-19 crisis, at https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/sales-scams-fraud/price-gouging/.

Updated 3/27/2020

Will Oregon OSHA address concerns regarding existing or new sick leave laws?

No, enforcement of state law related to sick leave is the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries'(BOLI) responsibility. BOLI provides specific guidance and a sick leave Q&A in the context of the COVID-19 crisis at https://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/OST/Pages/index.aspx.

Updated 3/27/2020

If Oregon OSHA is enforcing the Governor's Executive Order, will we be taking complaints about individuals who do not stay in their home?

No. Our authority and involvement is limited to businesses and to the workplace. In fact, no state agencies will be questioning whether drivers have a valid reason to remain at home. The attached document from the Oregon State Police may be helpful if people have questions on this issue. Although the order is summarized in the phrase “Stay at Home; Stay Safe" the real point of the order is to avoid or at least minimize in-person contact outside the home. A driver alone in his or her car raises no concerns on that score for any law enforcement or regulatory body.

OSP Enforcement FAQ

Updated 3/27/2020

Will Oregon OSHA be addressing concerns about crowds on beaches or in parks or congregating in other locations?

No. Our authority and involvement is limited to businesses and to the workplace. If individuals have concerns about groups congregating they need to address those to local authorities using non-emergency contact numbers. Because such activities are very visible it is also likely that local law enforcement will become aware of them relatively quickly even without receiving a complaint or other notification. How they address them, of course, will be a question for local authorities, taking into account their available resources and other factors.

Updated 3/27/2020




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