Oregon OSHA's COVID-19 Workplace Rule Changes Questions & Answers
Workplace Rule Change Questions and Answers PDFUpdated August 13, 2021
Does the new Oregon Health Authority facial covering rule (OAR 333-019-1025) mean that Oregon OSHA’s rules for COVID-19 are being rescinded?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 requirements. Other protective provisions, such as infection control, cleaning, notification of exposure, and ventilation, plus individual screening and triage in health care facilities remain in place.
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
Which types of businesses still need to enforce face coverings and social distancing?
A: At this time, only facial covering requirements must be enforced in all “indoor spaces,” as outlined in OHA’s rule OAR 333-019-1025.
Establishments engaged in healthcare, public transit, or airports must enforce physical distancing in addition to facial covering requirements.
Who is considered a “health care employer” for purposes of Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 rule?
A: Health care employers are those that operate workplaces where employees perform one or any combination of the following job duties:
- Direct patient care;
- Environmental decontamination services in a healthcare setting;
- Aerosol-generating healthcare or postmortem procedures (AGPs);
- Direct client service in residential care or assisted living facilities;
- Emergency first responder activities;
- Personal care activities that involve very close contact with an individual, such as toileting or bathing; or
- 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
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 physical distancing requirements as those healthcare workers involved in direct patient care, AGPs, or other exceptional risk job duties?
A. 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 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, airports, or other establishments?
A. No. Employers cannot use vaccination status to eliminate the need to enforce otherwise applicable facial covering or physical distancing requirements in workplaces, including K-12 schools, healthcare settings, public transit, and airports.
Are facial coverings required in Agriculture Labor Housing or other Employer Provided Housing?
A. No. On June 30, 2021, OAR 437-004-1115 – Oregon OSHA’s rules for COVID-19 Workplace Requirements for Employer-Provided Labor Housing was amended to state, “Oregon OSHA no longer requires employers to ensure that individuals in the labor housing wear a mask, face covering, or face shield as source control.” The language requiring all individuals in labor housing must use a mask, face covering, or face shield in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority’s Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance was also removed. At this time, Oregon OSHA 437-001-0744 rule which references OHA’s facial covering rule (OAR 333-019-1015) does not apply to employer-provided housing covered under 437-004-1120.
Scope of Oregon OSHA's Role Questions & Answers
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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.
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.
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
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
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
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.