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Scope of Oregon OSHA COVID-19 Activity

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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.

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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