Oregon OSHA Rule Would Address COVID-19 in All Workplaces
Oregon OSHA has proposed a temporary rule that would require employers in the state to implement measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in all workplaces. The draft temporary standard addresses measures such as social distancing, barriers, face coverings, cleaning, and information sharing. The rule describes additional requirements for jobs that require workers to be within six feet of another person for 15 minutes or longer and include direct contact.  Oregon OSHA’s press release explains that employers with workers in these situations would be required to conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment to address items such as the frequency, duration, and variety of close-in work activities. In addition, workplaces that present an “exceptional risk of exposure to COVID-19”—employers engaged in direct patient care and aerosol-generating procedures, for example—would be required to develop and implement an infection control plan under the temporary standard. The rule, originally scheduled to take effect by Sept. 14, was delayed to allow for the development of appendices that provide industry- or activity-specific guidance. Oregon OSHA planned to publish the revised draft and complete set of appendices for review by Oct. 10, after this issue of
The Synergist
went to press. The temporary rule was expected to take effect by Oct. 21 and remain in effect for 180 days. The full text of the draft standard and supporting documents are available from Oregon OSHA’s website.  Oregon OSHA also plans to pursue a permanent rulemaking intended to address potential future disease outbreaks. The agency describes the temporary and permanent rules as “two essentially different projects, in both nature and scope, recognizing that an ongoing infectious disease rule would not be as closely tailored to the current crisis as would a temporary rule.”